In a previous short article (1), several notions on the breeding of Lc. Parysatis coerulea were presented, including the successful crosses which had been made at that time. One of each of three of these hybrids has bloomed, having as the other parents Lc. Blue Boy, Cattleya mossiae 'Reineckiana, Blue Lip', and Lc. Schilleriana 'Werkhauserii'. The other two hybrids mentioned in the article, with C. gaskelliana 'Blue Dragon' and C. warneri var. coerulea, should bloom within a year. All have Lc. Parysatis coerulea as the pod bearer.
The use of Lc. Blue Boy as a parent has given, in general, seedlings of considerable variation in shape. The first seedling of the cross with Lc. Parysatis coerulea had an open shape, narrow, slightly curled sepals, and a somewhat shortened lip. The sepal color is light blue with the lavender barred lip a solid blue-lavender. The hybrid was made on November 20, 1964, embryo cultured March 30, 1965, and bloomed October 16, 1968.
Cattleya mossiae 'R.B.L.' is a proven parent, giving blues with C. intermedia var. amethystina (C. Undine), C. Portia coerulea (C. Big Ben) and Lc. Blue Boy. The first seedling with Lc. Parysatis coerulea has very good shape, is similar in size to C. Portia, and is flat. The lip is very reminiscent of Lc. Parysatis coerulea, being slightly larger, however, and exhibiting the "slit" in the center. The blue color is very apparent but diluted with lavender. This hybrid was made on June 13,1964, embryo cultured November 1,1964, and bloomed November 9, 1968.
One cannot expect much from Lc. Schilleriana in improving the shape, and with the Werkhauserii' strain, the blue lip leaves something to be desired, colorwise. Its use with Lc. Parysatis coerulea was what can be called "experimental," and nothing of real value is expected to come from it. Surprisingly, the most outstanding characteristic in the first seedling is the color of the lip. It is a fine blue, tinted only slightly with lavender, far better than either parent, and lacks the predominant lavender bar usually appearing in this type of breeding. Coloring on the wings of the column, common to both parents, is a very fine blue. The sepals are curled and pale blue. The lip is very similar to the Lc. Parysatis coerulea parent, but definitely showing the Laelia purpurata influence (from Lc. Schilleriana). The size is that of the Lc. Parysatis coerulea. The cross was made May 15, 1965, embryo cultured September 23, 1965, and bloomed May 10, 1969.
'We expect Lc. Parysatis coerulea to breed much on the order of C. Ariel coerulea and C. Portia coerulea but imparting smaller size and lip. The flatness and deep blue of the laelia parent is expected to predominate."(1) This is the summary previously forwarded. Apparently, some modification of this needs to be made. Considering the parents of Lc. Parysatis coerulea, the C. bowringiana used, var. lilacina, is the same as for C. Ariel coerulea, and C. Ariel coerulea is considered one of our finest blue breeders. Progeny using it as a parent have good blue color, no matter which of the C. Ariel coerulea parents they favor. This fact does not hold true for C. Portia coerulea which has a different C. bowringiana (var. violacea) parent (2).
The other parent, L. praestans (pumila)'Gatton Park', seems to be of prime concern, then. Apparently, it is of the L. pumila var. coerulea "Orchidglade" type rather than the "Werkhauserii" type, where the former has some lavender color present while the latter is very free of it.
The shape in two of the crosses seems to indicate that there is considerably more variability in the hybrids than can be expected from C. Ariel coerulea, especially when using other labiate cattleyas.
Although still very early to make any substantial conclusions, it appears that there will be some lavender shades among the progeny. Size and lip characteristics will favor Lc. Parysatis coerulea strongly, but flatness is not necessarily imparted. For vigor, there appears to be a strong tendency to grow well or poorly, with the gap between the two groups widening rapidly.
It is not the intent here to make any concrete statements regarding the use of Lc. Parysatis coerulea as a breeder and predicting the results "to a T," with only the three plants having bloomed. It is, however, the intent to keep information flowing. As large blocks of seedlings, using these parents in various combinations, come into bloom, a more comprehensive study of each parent can be made, thereby enabling the hybridizer to predict the outcome of a cross with more certainty. Due to the limited parental stock available, usually one variety per species, the opportunity to document a complete color line is rather unique and can be of great value to those who follow.
(1) Whitlow, Carson E. Notes on Breeding Laeliocattleya Parysatis coerulea. The Orchid Digest, 31:119. 1967
(2) . From the Beginning-Blue Cattleyas. The Orchid Digest, 32:102-106. 1968
(The Orchid Digest, Vol. 33, No. 10, December, 1969, pp. 317-318.)