What is the best roth cross?

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Two of the New Horizon x Raptor Xavier used above are mine and they do not in any way resemble the parents, and from what I've seen shared here and on Facebook that seems to be the norm for this cross as well as World Cup x Raptor. Of course not every plant in a grex is going to surpass the parents and/or be awardable, but when NONE of the progeny are even a decent quality bloom by modern standards that is pretty damning.

'Raptor' crosses are definitely an outlier. I only bloomed out two - both the World Cup x Raptor and purchased as young seedlings. I wish I had taken photographs at the time, but I did not yet know of any controversy.

Ray posted one here from New Horizon x Raptor - Paph rothschildianum (New Horizon x Raptor)

My experience mirrored his- blooming on incredibly small plants with outstanding color. I remember one of mine was a bit darker than his- especially in the dorsal- and both opened a bit more, but otherwise they were about the same and with flower dimensions so small that even from that young age they were not going to mature into something remarkable. So I tossed them out and never thought more of it.

A handful of plants performing like that, even close to half, would not be unsusual to my thinking- but given the widespread disappointment with both crosses, either 'Raptor' is a really bad parent or something is amiss with the heritage of at least some of the plants. Anecdotally it would appear purchasers of flasks had better luck, and given the enormous premium 'Raptor' crosses garnered at the time- it is quite possible that the flasks are the real thing and it was an unscrupulous broker or two later in the game that chose to mislabel seedlings for the 2x premium.

While it is rare- there is some history for highly acclaimed plants being terrible breeders. Anyone remember Phal. Hilo Lip? For those who are not aware of the tale, in the 1980s when Phalaenopsis were still big with collectors, Carmela orchids bloomed out a cross - Hilo Lip - in which a handful flowered as full-sized pinks with a pure white lip. They were an immediate hit, and very quickly compots of sib crosses became available for $50 each- and this is at a time when Carmela was charging $25-30 for most of its Phal. compots. A few award winners emerged from that generation, and then it was on to the next generation of sib crosses. It was generally, and I think correctly, blamed on inbreeding (and in particular inbreeding with a heavy stuartiana influence) - but that next generation yielded terrible results. Deformed flowers, a quality level nothing like the parents and even plants that never flowered. It has happened some in the first sib crosses, but rapidly got worse. This is an extreme example- but it can happen. So maybe 'Raptor' is a bad parent?

I will readily concede that with the price of roth, there is a very good chance a lot of Raptor crosses were mislabeled at some point. But there is also the chance Raptor is a bad parent that gives a very poor result. I am pretty sure they are long gone from stocks now, but if I get any of them I will either keep them or let someone experienced who I know will not resell them bloom them out just so we can add the results to collective knowledge.
 
For the rothschildianum, there are a few points:

- for Facebook, look up the parent names with rothschildianum. rothschildianum Giant Wings comes up with a few ugly flowers, not related to the motherplant by any option

- Raptor progeny that bloomed did not have any Raptor in it, that is a clear point, and just one example...

- If you search rothschildianum Black Diamond on both Facebook and internet you find 2 groups:

- The Japanese group, where you always can see Black Diamond in the flowers
- The US group, where you never can see Black Diamond in the flowers, quite the opposite in fact...

That would be really strange that the 'genetic lottery' favors Japanese over Americans and Europeans so much...

Onto genetics, there are not 3 colonies of rothschildianum but dozens of them. They are permanently collected and overcollected, you can find them offered even today on Facebook by locals, 50-100 plants at once, public posts. Petals going downwards is indeed typical of a few colonies, and there are some excellent flowers seen, they are not hybrids. The pygmy roths I posted on Facebook is as well another type of rothschildianum.

The Charles E. x Borneo cross was actually a famous one back then. Charles E., at least the real one was quite a good flower, there are vintage photos, and yes, it was not a bad flower at all. Another cross from the same era, made in England, was Commander x self. It gaves seedlings that all bloomed from excellent to amazing, up to the point it got an AQ/RHS, and some AM/RHS roths. Those were the 2 mainstream crosses around back then.

It is funny to know that the amazing rothschildianum 'Jordon Winter' is 'only' Charles E and Borneo in the genetics...

At Tonkin closure, people started to buy plants and unbloomed ones, though I am certain it was a culture problem that prevented them from blooming, and sold quite a lot of fake Charles E.

Here is a photo of Charles E, the real , original one...


charles E.jpg


Not a bad one for sure...

One must note the habit back then to give selfings the name of the parents. Maudiae 'Magnificum' is a good example, the original plant was selfed, and selfings selfed, everything was named Magnificum afterwards. It is not impossible that Charles E had original divisions and selfing under that name.

The story of hard or impossible to grow etc... was most likely related to the knowledge back then, and maybe selfings of selfings early on. Charles E and Borneo were wild collected in the late 50s, and again, 2 random wild roths crossed together produce a ton of seeds, and a lot of good growing plants. That would be really weird that specifically for Charles E and Borneo it would not be the same... Except if the original plants were selfings of selfings, and not the original clones, which is possible, or if some of the Charles E x Borneo seedlings were accidentally selfings of Charles E OR Borneo...

Now, for the 'latest' breeding, it is very simple in terms of pedigree. The Japanese ones come from Val x Mt Millais, the American ones come from Rex x Mt Millais, originally. A handful of other parents were used, Blackbird ( which is Commander x self) in Japan, in the US, Nan Chou. Janet and Chester hill as well were incorporated by the Orchid Zone. The gene pool of all the selected rothschildianum is therefore very, very limited.

If nothing out of any of the parents reappears in the progeny, it is not normal. There is variation in breeding, that is true, but within limits. If you cross 2 delenatii, you will not have a malipoense appearing in the seedlings. For rothschildianum it is the same. To not have the size, general shape, dorsal shape, color, lines patterns, pouch color, nothing out of the parents, in all the seedlings bloomed is technically impossible...

It becomes weirder when the same cross sold by several suppliers gives, out of some, plants that are indeed from the parents, recognizable, and from other suppliers, completely different flowers... One of the two is not selling the right cross.

The Taiwanese back a decade more ago as well released Green Valley x Dou Fong. I have seen, in my entire life, only 2 plants that bloomed like Dou Fong. All the remaining were not from those parents, very clearly, not even from Green Valley ( Rex x Mt Millais...). Turns out some people scooped all the wild roths, young generic roths from wild seed capsules ( yes, it was as well a business backthen) in Taiwan, old roths crosses of all kinds, and gave them amazing names... The same happened in the US with sanderianum Deep Pockets x Jacob's Ladder, or the flower of NBS/BS Rex x Mt Millais on the market at Tonkin's closure, when they sold their stocks... Story can go on and on.

Again, the plant type is important, if the parentage definitely indicates certain leaf type from certain colonies, if the seedlings sold are completely different, then they are not from the parents, but it requires a lot of experience indeed...

People forget that it is as well a business, which has to make profit. Some people simply take shortcuts...

Another point as well being that people assume that divisions are divisions, and it might be that people like Sam bought divisions, got 1-2 flowers, though they were a bad blooming on a stressed plant, and used them as parents, where in fact they were not at all related to the sold variety. It is as well very possible that Sam got pollen from various people, or even capsules ( this I know he did...) and the guy screwed him. If it was from Justin, I would trust the pollen and capsules. If it was from some others, well, for certain no... All is possible.

But the key end point is that most of the Orchid Inn roths gave low quality flowers, not related to the parents genetically, consistently, out of dozens of crosse you can check here and on Facebook, using the parent names...

There was a story of emersonii luteum/album with Photoshop I won't dare to dig up as well.... Everyone can make mistakes anyway.

For the Sunlight Sky Roths, it is hybrid vigor, and it is easy to see when you have a look on FAcebook at the Sunlight Sky Roths in flower ( named as such.).
 
'Raptor' crosses are definitely an outlier. I only bloomed out two - both the World Cup x Raptor and purchased as young seedlings. I wish I had taken photographs at the time, but I did not yet know of any controversy.

Ray posted one here from New Horizon x Raptor - Paph rothschildianum (New Horizon x Raptor)

My experience mirrored his- blooming on incredibly small plants with outstanding color. I remember one of mine was a bit darker than his- especially in the dorsal- and both opened a bit more, but otherwise they were about the same and with flower dimensions so small that even from that young age they were not going to mature into something remarkable. So I tossed them out and never thought more of it.

A handful of plants performing like that, even close to half, would not be unsusual to my thinking- but given the widespread disappointment with both crosses, either 'Raptor' is a really bad parent or something is amiss with the heritage of at least some of the plants. Anecdotally it would appear purchasers of flasks had better luck, and given the enormous premium 'Raptor' crosses garnered at the time- it is quite possible that the flasks are the real thing and it was an unscrupulous broker or two later in the game that chose to mislabel seedlings for the 2x premium.

While it is rare- there is some history for highly acclaimed plants being terrible breeders. Anyone remember Phal. Hilo Lip? For those who are not aware of the tale, in the 1980s when Phalaenopsis were still big with collectors, Carmela orchids bloomed out a cross - Hilo Lip - in which a handful flowered as full-sized pinks with a pure white lip. They were an immediate hit, and very quickly compots of sib crosses became available for $50 each- and this is at a time when Carmela was charging $25-30 for most of its Phal. compots. A few award winners emerged from that generation, and then it was on to the next generation of sib crosses. It was generally, and I think correctly, blamed on inbreeding (and in particular inbreeding with a heavy stuartiana influence) - but that next generation yielded terrible results. Deformed flowers, a quality level nothing like the parents and even plants that never flowered. It has happened some in the first sib crosses, but rapidly got worse. This is an extreme example- but it can happen. So maybe 'Raptor' is a bad parent?

I will readily concede that with the price of roth, there is a very good chance a lot of Raptor crosses were mislabeled at some point. But there is also the chance Raptor is a bad parent that gives a very poor result. I am pretty sure they are long gone from stocks now, but if I get any of them I will either keep them or let someone experienced who I know will not resell them bloom them out just so we can add the results to collective knowledge.
Hilo Lip is an aneuploid. Few people know that I do breed industrial pot plant Phalaenopsis as well... But when using an aneuploid plant, indeed, generation after generation, there are more and more culls appearing, either sibling the original variety, or crossing it onto others, so that is different from a pure species with a normal chromosome count, or eventually 3n, 4n 'exact'.

The most extreme case are harlequins... Many Harlequins breeding lines give only a handful of acceptable flowers, and a lot of cripplied ones, but those are heavy genetic and epigenetic mutations...

For roths, well that's the problem, when the progeny does not look like the parents, and second as well when there are no known photos of all the parents, except the awarded one by the original owner. That's what I pointed out with my Mt Millais. Except EYOF and TON photos from 25 years ago, Justin posted it, and I posted it.

I have more photos of Mt Millais, some crappy photos, because they bloom very regularly. But several bloomings for sure.

Those prestigious crosses, there are no photos outside of the original award one, and as a breeder/seller, I would be proud to post photos when they rebloom by me. Or proud to show a Mt Millais selfing that is 'far superior' and used as a parent.... That raises as well a lot of questions.

The second problem being when roth from all kind of parentages on the tags give consistently the same type of bad flowers, like if they were siblings...

For the New Horizon x Raptor, the plants I see in photo are typical of the pygmy form of Rothschildianum, absolutely not coming or related to the parents at all, in no way. Here is a photo of my original pygmy plant:



They are very small, and exceptionally dark. The New Horizon x Raptor tagged plants are progeny of a similar plant, without a doubt... The leaves are thicker and harder, and the plant shape itself is different from most roths.

For the flasks and the plants, yes I suspect it...

Sam's Choice x Mt Millais, the flasks gave some amazing flowers... The plants, completely different. At a point the problem is that growing flasks to seedlings is costly as well, so it could be a double market, selling flasks with a profit, trading seedlings with a profit. Flasks are harder to get to trade and rename, because each grower/country has different type of flasks ( plastic vs. glass bottles, etc...). Plants are easier.
 
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Sunlight Sky Roths

Horizontal petals would be named as 35-40cm flowerspan roths, with 7-8cm dorsals. As Sunlight Sky Roths started to bloom only a couple years ago, that's why the 'gigantic roths' never appeared before..

I just saw an auction of one of them as rothschildianum, it went for over 70.000NTD, inside Taiwan.
 
Thank you @Roth for your considered reply. I appreciate it very much.

On roth colonies- I certainly defer to your expertise. I was referring to the 3 populations generally known and for which I have documentation of study. It would not surprise me to know there are other populations- I just do not know any details of them.

On the closure of the Tonkin nursery- do you have any idea about how many remaining roths from the Charles E x Borneo cross were left? I have a rough idea from rumblings at the time as noted in my post, but I have long wanted to get a handle on just how many plants remained unbloomed at that point.

On the culture issue- I can definitely attest to highly variable culture advice on rothschildianum back in the 80s and 90s in the United States. Rebecca Tyson Northen's generally excellent book Home Orchid Growing was a classic example of generally classifying Paphs as either cool growing for plain leafed varieties and warm growing for mottled. I have often wondered as well if maybe some growers did not consider the fact that roth growing at 1500 feet in Borneo is living far warmer than Paphs living at similar elevations on the Asian continent.

That said- I knew Doc Charles, RJ Rands and Topper when I was young and conversed with them occasionally (got to visit Doc Charles once- one of the great experiences of my life in high school)- and they certainly did not have any trouble growing roth and sanderianum to specimen size. So I would have expected other experienced hybridizers to have that same knowledge- but I never had in depth conversations or visits with the Tonkins- so all I know is that Charles E x Borneo was considered by them and the market in general to be very slow growing.

On Hilo Lip- thank you for the correction. It was 3N I assume? I did not know that. I was going to use Orchid World for my example, but I did not because it was my understanding that one was 3N. I could go dig up any number of Cattleya alliance examples in its place, but point being I know as a hybridizer and colleague of many hybridizers that an award alone does not make a great parent. And so I am not phased when I see so many highly awarded roth clones turn out to not be great breeders considering the limited gene pool and ever growing number of generations.

That said, when you raise the point of entire populations not showing any resemblance to parents- that is another matter entirely and I would have to concede lacking additional evidence that such an outcome suggests most strongly mislabeled plants.

Getting back to Orchid Inn and the issue of plants being more problematic than flasks in many cases- the first thought that comes to my mind is that some vendors and brokers might have deliberately mislabeled inferior roths with parentage matching the plants Sam was offering at the time. I am far from the only person who has ever bought and resold his plants, and given his efforts to be a leading provider of top crosses- his offerings would be a prime target for scammers.

In other words- to take Sam's Best x MM for example- and one where I have a few plants still left from flask and which all have the same appearance with the lighter colored almost succulent leaves, thick stiff fans and sublty darker veins running the length of the leaves. I have had zero concerns or issues with those, as with anything else. But at the time it came out, that was a very expensive and highy sought cross. So it would have been a prime target for the unscrupulous to sell in seedling size and claim the flasks came from OI when they never did. And that I think would best explain any issues you and others have seen with plants sold as seedlings.

For my part, I have never bought any roth or sanderianum that did not either come from Sam in flask, or seedling directly from him from his own crosses originating in flask, or that I was 100% dead certain came from Tokyo Orchid Nursery (which is where all my callosum v. potentianum came from- and good thing because you too have probably already seen posts and news about mislabeled plants of that being sold. There was a dayanum on FB just the other day that had been labeled as potentianum.)

You have given me much to ponder, and between us I think we have explored just what a messy business this can be. And at the end of the day, whether one particular retailer is fundamentally honest or not, there are all sorts of ways we all get deceived- and it is so hard to be 100% certain.

I will say this- your comments have me prepared to raise my awareness even higher now that I am going to dive a little bit deeper back into the business. For a start, as my batches of roth arrive I am going to make and keep detailed records of leaf color, pattern and general fan presentation by sibling cross and endeavor to secure more photos of foliage in addition to accurate photos of current and future famed parents. Knowledge is power.
 
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Sunlight Sky Roths

Horizontal petals would be named as 35-40cm flowerspan roths, with 7-8cm dorsals. As Sunlight Sky Roths started to bloom only a couple years ago, that's why the 'gigantic roths' never appeared before..
Beautiful flower, but yikes that dorsal. Have you seen many or any true roths with a dorsal that wide and relatively rounded versus elongated?
 
Beautiful flower, but yikes that dorsal. Have you seen many or any true roths with a dorsal that wide and relatively rounded versus elongated?
Nope, and that's the problem, there are many new 'gigantic roths' with that dorsal, very round and wide. Surprisingly it comes from stonei... and many of those roths from Taiwan with dorsals of 7 and 8cm+ are definitely this hybrid...

For the roths, there is another problem with Sam, is that he was outsourcing the culture of his plants to several nurseries, including in Hawaii... The series of plants blooming here and in France, sold as plants, without any doubt came directly from Orchid Inn, and they share in common that vastly different crosses give the same low quality flowers that can't be from those parents...

Rothschildianum is still very common in the wild and offered nearly daily as wild plants on Facebook. Not for US/Europe, but for the remaining of the markets in Asia... And not on secret groups, but just in public... Photos appear and disappear pretty fast once buyers have sealed a deal, though I found a photo left as of now...

They always come from different colonies, step by step. They do grow as well outside of the Kinabalu Park. Tony Lamb visited and located some of the outside colonies, a few had only petals going downwards in fact.

Tonkin had a few hundreds plants when they closed. Most were sold as Charles E, or Borneo, or Val, etc... and some were sold as Rex x MM by unscrupulous people. One of the problem is that they divided their plants in smaller plants to sell and keep a stock - at a point they were selling many plants per year. In amazing growers, you had Norris Powell that I visited as well back then. Emerson Charles was growing his plants perfectly well, so did Rands ( but not so much sanderianum after all...)

Phal Hilo Lip had a chromosome number of 51... that's why it was an aneuploid, and hence when used in breeding further it was a total screw up. The Harlequins have microsatellites nuclei, which makes the things even worse...

But that's the basis of the problem with roths etc... in that they are diploids ( 4n roths, I and others tried it, including the Eric Young, and there is a fatal flaw, in that the leaf base is so thick that the roots cannot penetrate it and go out, resulting in a rootless plant...), so the genetic is very simple...

There is another roth breeder, Shen-Liu. I and others got a lot of seedlings from him of various crosses. They all, without any exception, bloomed like one or the other, or both parents. Some have the RxMM x ValxMM in the background as well, in that they are identical to things like New Horizon x Raptor or the others... The worst of these bloomed vastly superior than any of those OI rothschildianum. That's as well the big problem in terms of knowing what OI roths are really, and their correct parentage...

Or it would mean that people like me, or Shen Liu, or Paph Paradise only have very good breeding plants, that produce a progeny close to its parents and by unluck absolutely all the New Horizon, Raptor, Canadian Club, etc... crosses are very very bad parents that never produce a good plant, though they have the same breeding background.

This is a 'very late first bloomer' of Rothschildianum TN-Lion x TN-Six-Fay... in that this cross started to bloom over 10 years ago for the largest/best ones...



We clearly see the parents, and it is a gorgeous rothschildianum, as an example...
 

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I have a Green Valley x Dou Fong (or do I?), it was my first roths purchase when I started rebuilding my collection after losing everything in the 2019 freeze. No idea if it is legit now that this grex is in question too but it is a very distinct plant much lower growing, almost flat against the ground with short broad leaves and is the slowest growing roths I have. These flower pictures are from April 2020 and it hasn't had a growth reach maturity to rebloom since then. NS 29 DS 6.5 on that blooming, my hand makes it look smaller than it was. 20200402_120824.jpg20200402_125851.jpg20230416_065714.jpg20230416_065724.jpg
 
One of the few and good Green Valley x Dou Fong



By Fabrice who is a member on that forum... Thanks to him too I have it in my collection, when it blooms I will post some photos...

But yours would be in the acceptable range according to the parents. Batches of it were bought and bloomed 1-15 years ago, and turned out to be horrible generic rothschildianums...

Thousands were bloomed that were absolutely terrible ( coincidentally, some came directly from Taiwan, and a lot transitered through Hawaii.....).

Another mystery thing was the series of roth sold as 'Chester Hill' x 'Colossus' as a parent, directly from the Orchid Zone. No one has ever seen a photo of the parents, and it was by far the most prolific roth cross from the Orchid Zone. It was an absolute disaster, and none ever bloomed with good flowers. The plants were gigantic however. 'Colossus' was supposedly an amazing Rex x Mt Millais, but none of the progeny showed it.

The Orchid Zone had a strange habit of naming rothschildianum clones as well, with a lot of the F2 F3 having no photo of the parents at all, except a handful and some strange explanations. Chester Hill from the Orchid Zone was in fact a seedling of Janet x Chester Hill, that the OZ named Chester Hill, as per their own story, etc... The 'Chester Hill' x something turned out as well to be ugly ducks...

On the other side, the AQ/AOS and awarded rothschildianum were never, ever used as parents and disappeared, or were renamed in Japan or Taiwan. Pisces, Capricorn, Leo, etc... awarded by the Orchid Zone were nowhere in the next rothschildianum generation, and those plants even disappeared completely. The legend wants that he had much better ones to breed with, and did not have to prove which parents he decided to use, but looking at the photos of the Awards, it is really weird.

The original sanderianum 'Deep Pockets' x 'Jacob's Ladder' was another weird story. Apparently Norris Powell was the one who supplied heaps of flasks of sanderianum (fake ones, but Uncle Norris was not always that reliable, after all...), that turned out to be PEOY, but they were supposed themselves to be from Deep Pockets x Jacob's Ladder from the Orchid Zone. Complicated stories, after all...

The weirdest part is that Taiwan knew they were not sanderianum but fake ones, years before the OZ ever bloomed one. I have to know because I was told they were guaranteed PEOY ( and not just hybrids or another cross...) at a time the OZ had 30+cm leafspan plants max. The dirty secrets of the orchid world...
 
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Sunlight Sky Roths

Horizontal petals would be named as 35-40cm flowerspan roths, with 7-8cm dorsals. As Sunlight Sky Roths started to bloom only a couple years ago, that's why the 'gigantic roths' never appeared before..

I just saw an auction of one of them as rothschildianum, it went for over 70.000NTD, inside Taiwan.
When were Krull's Smith roths awarded, then? Their two best roths are up to the size you say here.
I'm asking because you said 'gigantic roths' never appeared before Sunlight Sky Roths started to bloom a couple of years ago.
 
When were Krull's Smith roths awarded, then? Their two best roths are up to the size you say here.
I'm asking because you said 'gigantic roths' never appeared before Sunlight Sky Roths started to bloom a couple of years ago.

'Jordon Winter' was awarded in 2017, and while it's a huge flower it "only" had a 6cm dorsal, not the 7-8cm being shown now.

Screenshot_20230416_092105_Chrome.jpg
 
'Jordan Winter' is an amazing rothschildianum. It is ( Charles E x Borneo) x Borneo for the parentage...

For the Taiwanese ones, well, they made a huge jump from 6 cm around wide dorsal to 8-9, at the same time the Sunlight Sky Roths started to bloom with the same dorsal size... Some have a weird dorsal or some oddities, like too round dorsal, or the pouch under certain light that is more pinkish than brownish... but overall they 99% look like a rothschildianum, only of size unknown before. many with the 8-9cm dorsals are as well first bloom seedlings too, and at many nurseries/growers at the same time in Taiwan. It could of course be a miracle, but I am not so sure...

Jordan Winter or all the others are smaller, but they are clumps. For the award size, individual petals were 18cm when awarded, and Frank bloomed it again where it exceeded 40cm, which makes sense when the petals are more horizontal...

Many of those gigantic roths were owned and exhibited by the same people who exhibited as well plants of Sunlight Sky Roths, so the case is very clear after all... I would expect some of them to make flowers over 40cm, but they remain hybrids.

It is the same with Woessner Black Wings when you compare to rothschildianum and anitum. Some of the selected ones have flowers that are much, much bigger than anitum, sometimes even double the size of anitum.

Except that now, it is rothschildianum hybrids that have enough hybrid vigor to make gigantic flowers ( confirmed by genuine Sunlight Sky Roths), and sold as rothschildianum. The same applies to sanderianum, I saw myself in flower recently Shin-Yi Sanders x sanderianum. They looked like absolutely gigantic sanderianum. One defect in many of them though was that the dorsal had a full stripe in the middle, where sanderianum has a broken line. Some however were perfect, 1m+ sanderianums... and already come in the trade.

Some breeders understood the logic behind the highly selected callosum and callosum vini ( all Maudiae hybrids...), the lawrenceanum hyeanum made out of various Maudiae ( barely resemble the original lawrenceanum album, or any lawrenceanum for that matter...), primulinum 4n supergiant ( Pinnochio Geel from Floricultura pot plant offer...), moquetteanum album ( never existed, again a Pinnochio Geel F2 from Floricultura, the 'species' was found in a pot plant nursery in Germany...), spicerianum made with Bruno, charlesworthii made with King Charles, 99.5% of the Thai leucochilum and godefroyae made with bellatulum, a shot of ang thong here and there ( Mu, the source for most of the leucochilum and godefroyae breeding, told me that it was important to bloom them and discard the ones that had 'mutations', AKA the ones looking like S. Gratrix. he had benches of them for sale, with tags removed, or not... Jo close to Chiang Mai told me the same back then, 20 years ago, the same for white flowered round concolor, they have to be thrown away, and breed only the round yellow ones, aka hybrids still...) and they decided to go this way, to offer gigantic, unsurpassed 'species' for credulous people. It is really that simple.
 
I agree Tom…. You have put this as eloquently as this subject could possibly be stated.
Sam and Orchid Inn has been huge to the Paphiopedilum world

So was Norris Powell, in his time. That Sam and Orchid Inn were influential in the Paphiopedilum world, there is no question about it. We have to accept that everyone has good and bad sides, after all. But there is no question that, whoever did it, a lot of the Orchid Inn rothschildianum specifically, direct from them, did not bloom with the proper parentage.

I will not go into details about a recent Orchid Zone related story, or an emersonii luteum/album/photoshoppum a long time ago as well...

Another one to add to the list of examples where the seedlings are from the said parents is In Charm Orchids. He sold a lot of rothschildianum Chao Chou x Hulk in Europe, that bloomed. Well, they all looked like one, or the other, or both parents. That makes a lot of breeders where roths look like their parents, and remain one direct one where the seedlings do not look like the parents. As I said, it could be a problem with his contract grower, or whatever. But the problem remains the same.

Note that back then, when the Taiwanese told me 'hey Terry Root is going to be fucked, his sanderianum are all fake' I passed the message to him, and through one of his very close friends. Of course no one believed it back then, it was impossible for the Orchid Zone to make mistakes, they were even more prestigious than Orchid Inn, after all... Well I got some apologies 3 years later when they turned out to be PEOY... The Taiwanese involved knew the story from the Orchid Zone real sanderianum ( generic parents supposedly...) supplier, Norris Powell, who scheduled from the beginning to **** him deeply 'for his arrogance' according to the Taiwanese... Norris was an amazing Paph grower actually... Remains, in the fine print, that the 'deep pockets' x 'jacob's ladder' printed on the OZ labels had nothing to do with the actual parentage, as they were flasks from Norris Powell to start with...

Everyone is entitled to their own choice, I have explained my point of view on the subject, technically speaking, and that is it. I close the discussion here on my side.
 
The figure I saw on his website said natural spread of 40cm not 29. maybe it is the other FCC clone?

'Jordon Winter' has bloomed larger since being awarded but it looks nothing like the new Taiwanese giants. Same for his more recent FCC, 'Franklin Atticus Smith' which I saw in person when it was awarded. It's a massive, imposing flower but again a classic roths in appearance that doesn't match up to the newest ones. Such a massive increase in size and change of form in a single generation is far less likely than them being carefully selected Sunlight Sky Roths, especially given the images of them in front of a bench of known SSR.
 
Everyone is entitled to their own choice, I have explained my point of view on the subject, technically speaking, and that is it. I close the discussion here on my side.
Thank you for all your posts and the dialogue. It is a complicated picture and there are differences between intentions and outcomes that have to matter to me if I am going to wade back into the commercial side of things. Whatever my current or future feelings (and I think we agree in a great many respects), you have provided some great resources and ideas for monitoring and learning- and that is invaluable.

It has also been fun these last few days to think much on some pretty amazing characters and events from my early time in orchids. These days when I go to a show, all the vendors tend to be friendly with each other and- with few exceptions- they are primarily selling plants they bought within the past 3-4 weeks. And at a really good show you might have 10 vendors at most.

I remember a far different time when an orchid show could have 40+ vendors filling a giant ballroom and still the show chair and vendor committee chair person had to be very careful to keep certain vendors very far away from each other. I did not know Norris Powell well at all- we only spoke on the phone once or twice and I think I maybe placed 1-2 orders with him when Orchid House was still in business. A great grower, but even with new acquaintances had no problem being very blunt about his competitors. I have known most of the sanderianum 'Deep Pockets' x 'Jacob's Ladder' story for years except for the bit about the actual source of the flasks. And I absolutely think Norris would have been capable of that.

Those early Paph guys were mostly very wealthy self-made men who started growing orchids when being an orchid grower was like being in the right country club. Talented and brilliant- but absolutely ruthless when they felt it appropriate, just as they were in their primary professional lives.
 
It is interesting that Jordan Winter hasn't got any modern breeding (I mean from 1990 onwards) just ( Charles E x Borneo) x Borneo, no rex and Mt Millias ect. As Roth said, Charles E was a good-shaped flower with a large dorsal. But what a fantastic plant and flower.
 
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