Variability in harlequin Phals?

whitecat8(z4 MN)July 15, 2013

When you see a picture of a particular harlequin Phal for sale, to what extent can you expect flowers on your plant to look like the picture?

I bought a harlequin Phal clone from a trusted grower. In the picture, the pattern was complex and symmetrical, and the two flowers in the photo looked very similar.

Examples of other harlequins with similar, symmetrical patterns on the same inflorescence:

2865_Phal unnamed
http://orchidcentral.org/Images/Phalaenopsis/Hybrid/2865_Phal unnamed.jpg

Phal Green Field Red Zuul 'Harlequin Queen'
http://seagroveorchids.com/Phalrelatives.htm

Yesterday, the first flower opened, and it looks nothing like the picture. I never would have bought this plant.

The grower advised me to wait and see what the other buds do and also wait for another blooming. They said that all harlequins started from mutations. Depending upon the hybrid, flowers on a single plant can change their coloration, color disbursement, and blotching from blooming to blooming and even from flower to flower on the same inflorescence, usually depending upon temperature as the bud develops.

They added that usually, cold temperatures increase the color saturation. During hot summers outside, white harlequins that have 50% of the flower covered in big dark burgundy blotches can bloom out solid white.

Except for Dtps (now Phal) Ever Spring Prince 'Pretty Cat,' this is my first harlequin. I got the Pretty Cat because the coloring *does* vary a lot from flower to flower.

When you buy a harlequin, is it pretty much pot luck?

Frustrated, WhiteCat8

This post was edited by whitecat8 on Mon, Jul 15, 13 at 17:15

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highjack(z6 KY)

This is my one and only harlequin and you can see the two blooms are not identical but close. It was either a clone or a stem prop from the original plant. This is Phal. Liolin Wild Cat.

Years ago I also had Yu Pin 'Pearl' which was a white with purple-ish spots and no two spot patterns were exactly the same. I don't remember when it bloomed but I never got a solid white bloom.

I know this doesn't help but it is my limited experience with the harlequins. Hopefully the next bloom is more of what you want.

Brooke

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:18PM
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terpguy(7)

I think you can expect then to vary a bit given that anthocyanin (reds/purples) expression/saturation can be temperature dependent (think Beallara Marfitch 'Howard's Dream'). Color variation will mostly come down to culture.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 7:29PM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Thanks, you two. I just haven't run across this info about harlequins until now.

Brooke, I'm fine w/ variations from flower to flower if that's a known characteristic - similar to your Liolin Wild Cat.

Terp, unfortunately, I didn't know about 'Howard's Dream,' or maybe I wouldn't have gotten this Phal... except, the photo of the flowers on the grower's site almost took my breath away, and I'm willing to wait a few years to see if that lusciousness ever graces the orchid room.

After researching effects of temps on anthocyanin and talking with a local old timer, I cut the spike off in hopes the Phal will spike again in the fall. Once temps go lower in late summer, I'll put it outside at night. Maybe the cooler temps will help.

Thanks again, WC8

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:04AM
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terpguy(7)

They may. Bllra Marfitch 'Howard's dream' is well know to have strong variability in its color. When grown cooler it keeps the well known purple that everyone loves. But when grown warmer it tends to come out more red. It's actually a neat effect that makes owning the plant really fun :)

Good luck with your lovely!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:09AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Whitecat, I know you didn't get what you wanted, but the one you did get is a real beauty. You are going to have to learn to love it for itself.

(my sympathy for the disappointment)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:40PM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Terp, Google images for Bllra Marfitch 'Howard's Dream' were so all over the place, I would have thought at least half were mislabeled, if you hadn't educated me.

Oregon, can you clarify your zone of '5 OR Sunset 1A'? Sounds interesting. The USDA site indicates OR has a zone 5b, as well as 6a, 6b, and on up to 9b. That's wild.

Thanks for the sympathy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to me, those flowers were plug-ugly. Also, the way I see it, no one *has* to learn to love a particular orchid, especially when it's not being 'itself.'

WC8

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Zones, Oregon State

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 11:19PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

As far as I know the only type of orchid here where the orchid Judges allow for variability between flowers on the one raceme are Harlequin Phals.

Blc. Marfitch 'Howard's Dream' might be all over the place because it has been widely mericloned and you might be purchasing a mericlone that is a mericlone of a mericlone etc. rather than mericlone from the mother plant.

Many google images have incorrect names.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 3:03PM
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terpguy(7)

Arthur, Marfitch is definitely more temps then mericloning. The variability I've experienced in my own plants from one flowering to the next I can directly attribute to temperature variability. A testament ive heard from other growers/breeders as well.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:51PM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

My Guy is no help. I cut off the offending spike with its 3 flowers and put it in the compost container in the kitchen, along with coffee grounds, banana skins, etc.

The Guy pulled it out, put it in a glass of water, and put it in a kitchen window.

The next night, when I was in the kitchen and swore at one of the dogs for some infraction or other, My Guy was indignant: I was swearing in front of Herman.

That's when I learned he'd named the spike Herman and had become "his" protector.

I love that he pays attention to me and figures out how to tease me lovingly... but "Herman"???

WC8

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:05PM
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