Re: U.subulata

Barry Meyers-Rice (
Tue, 4 Dec 90 20:22:50 mst

Paul wrote:

>This is a test message from Australia - NZ is a few hundred kms that way ->
My apologies, Paul. Y'know, I close my eyes for ONE scaled INSTANT
of time, and NZ and AU are separate, and Alaska is no longer attached
to the Soviet Union. Next thing you know, India will go plowing into
Asia! Damned Continental drift!

>I've just send off for some plant/seed lists from Allen Lowrie, Fred Howell
>(my usual mail order plant supplier in South Australia) and a local company
>called Plantastic, who I haven't tried before. I'll let you know about any
>"goodies" they might have.

Although many of us have dealt with Allen, these others are unfamiliar
to at least me..... Do Tell!

>Rica Erickson has published a few books: "Orchids of the West" (1951),
>"Plants of Prey" (1968) and "Triggerplants" (1958). I have the later two

P. of Prey is in fact sold out. I'm picking one up, along with books by
Kondo, if I ever see them. They are pretty hard to find these days.
I know that Allen used to sell Tuberous Orchids. Maybe he will... Of
course, maybe he is relying heavily on this botanist Marchant for some
things, and might be too much alone on the orchids. Don't get me wrong,
I am not in any way belittling Allen, just trying to second guess him.
I'll ask him in my next letter to him.

Mike wrote:

>Barry; just what is the story about U. subulata and its cleistogamous
>"forms"?? I have a race of subulata which flowers rarely, but when it
>and how does U. juncea fit into this??

For those who may be unfamiliar with this terminology, Mike described
the situation nicely. Chasmogamous flowers are the familiar type...
petals, sepals, etc. Cleistogamous flowers are ones in which the
flowers never open, but instead fertilize themselves, produce seed,
at which point the flower opens. Cleistogamous flowers often look like
little globes. The Utrics juncea and subulata (as well as some others)
form both types of flowers. In fact, a species (I think virgatula or
something like that) was found to be just a cleist. form of subulata.
Both cleist. and chasmo. flowers can be found on the same inflorescence
(although I have never observed this). I think that what the plant will
produce depends on the culture. A happier plant will produce chasmo
flowers. I once sowed seed from cleisto plants, and got a pot full
of plants (also cleisto). However, later in the season, the plants
started to produce chasmo flowers... I think that it is just
environment. Incidentally, remember that subulata is pan-tropical, so
expect variations. Perhaps some are more likely to be cleisto than
others. Also, juncea can produce semi-cleistogamous flowers. The
flowers are much reduced, with a prominet spur. All said and done,
I've got a plant in my culture that I THINK is juncea, but it has
never produced anything other than cleisto flowers (odd) so I am
watching it separately for further developments... Incidentally,
as far as I can tell (from Peter Taylor's monograph and the
papers you sent me, by Kondo), U. cornuta is NEVER cleisto. Consider
that a helpful hint when keying between juncea and cornuta.

Cleistogamy is an interesting development, esp. since Utric, Ping,
and Sarr. flowers are designed (interesting choice of verb!) so
as to avoid self pollination, yet perhaps in less happy conditions
the plant throws that to the wind? Oh, I pointed out to Paul McMillian
that subulata in my culture is chasmo *almost* exclusively when it is
growing in live sphagnum...perhaps that is how it likes it.