Monday, December 12, 2011

Primary hybrids

A primary hybrid is the result of cross between two species.  A secondary hybrid is the result of a cross between two primary hybrids (typically when none of the parents of the primaries are shared - i.e., there are four species represented in a secondary hybrid, each contributing 25% of the genes). 

Modern Cattleya hybrids usually are very complex but obviously in the early days of hybridization it was all primary hybrids.  People are fond of primary hybrids because they retain much of the charm of species but tend to be more vigorous.  Many of these plants were lovely (to read the descriptions from the old gardening literature) but are now lost.  They would have to re-created.

Here is a web site listing several primary hybrids.  You will not recognize most of the names.

Of course, Arthur Chadwick's articles regularly mention primaries that are currently unavailable.


  1. The re-creation is problematic since the parents were selected varieties. What is produced now is only similar to the lost hybrids.

  2. Yes, the exact same plants would be impossible, but I would be happy with similar plants made with excellent parents today.