In April this year I was approached by a fellow orchid grower and chairman of a local orchid club from Pretoria to sow a cross that he had performed earlier in the year. The cross was Eulophia streptopetala X E. petersii (click on the names to see the flowers of each species). I had raised Eulophia species before but this was going to be my first primary Eulophia hybrid and I was interested to see how they performed comparatively in vitro. The seeds arrived on 30th April and I processed them the same evening. Within 3 weeks germination had begun and almost all of the seeds germinated. This was a good start and as they formed into individual protocorms I selected the fastest growers and replated these again to new media. Eulophias are not generally easy to grow in vitro compared to other orchids. They are often very difficult to get their protocorms to differentiate shoots and roots and over time the protocorms just become necrotic and die if the correct requirements are not given at the correct times. I have had significant results using normal germination media (P6668 equivalent) as well as the same media for the initial re-plate with some banana. Once the protocorms are large enough to be able to produce good healthy individual roots and shoots I move them onto a carbon-free BM-1 for shoot and root differentiation for 4 months or so. This I find works best for Eulophias, better than any other combination.
I finally got to meet my now friend from Pretoria this afternoon to hand over his flasks of his new babies. The hybrid he has produced is a fast-grower and is nice and tough.The seedlings are ready for potting up and this has taken only 8 months to the day from seed. This is quite significant growth by most orchid standards but this is exceptional for a Eulophia! Usually eulophias are very slow and very lazy in vitro. Given the fast growth, this new hybrid should produce flowers within only a few years I hope. I was fortunate to be able to keep some of the seedlings for my own collection. My friend intends registering his hybrid with the RHS once it flowers. I am looking forward to seeing the blooms in future. What a lovely little plant it is!
|Eulophia streptopetala X E. petersii germinating|