Historic Cattleya

Cattleya Alliance

by Karen Johansen

Dear Sleuths of older Cattleya varieties: Many decades ago I inherited a lovely Cattleya specimen from my grandfather in Lantana, FL. This plant was most likely purchased from nearby Alberts and Merkel in Boynton Beach in the 1950s or early 60s. It was the standard lavender with magenta lip, and was reliably in bloom every Christmas. In my 20s I got too enthusiastic in dividing the behemoth, and ended up gradually losing the divisions. Oh how I now long to replace it, now that I am a senior citizen! I've looked through Alberts and Merkel archived info, and wonder if it was a cultivar of C. ballantiana, but can't find bloom season info on that. The plant was vigorous (until clumsily divided!) and my grandpa grew it in osmunda in a hanging basket. By the way, I still have many of his plants after 50 plus years. I live in zone 8a, so they are maintained as houseplants here.

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  1. Carol Holdren
    10 months ago
    Can you send a photo?
  2. Carol Holdren
    10 months ago
    Hi Karen, I emailed you some pages from Orchid Wiz which give information about Cattleya Ballantiana (C trianae x C warscewicii) and that looks like you are correct. C trianae blooms around Christmas.
    1. Karen Johansen
      10 months ago
      Hello Carol, Thank you for your reply and emails. I wonder if the plant was C. ballantiana or possibly just the species C. trianae? Frequently there were two flowers per inflorescence, but usually singles.
    2. Karen Johansen
      10 months ago
      Hello Carol, Thank you for your reply and emails. I wonder if the plant was C. ballantiana or possibly just the species C. trianae? Frequently there were two flowers per inflorescence, but usually singles.

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