For this month, I am featuring a primary hybrid that I got as a seedling two years ago. It has grown strongly, if slowly, and has now produced flowers for the first time. Coelogyne Bird In Flight has C. usitana as its pod parent and C. lawrenceana as its pollen parent. The hybrid falls somewhere between the two, with neither being too dominant. The pseudobulbs resemble those of C. usitana, but the overall shape and size of the plant is smaller (C. usitana is quite a large species, despite my having read in various places that it is small or miniature) due to the influence of C. lawrenceana. Thankfully, the more creeping habit of C. lawrenceana hasn’t come through, and the hybrid seems to be nice and clump-forming (making it easier to accommodate in a pot).
I was quite surprised to see a flower spike developing, as I wasn’t expecting flowers until the plant was a little larger, maybe in a year’s time. As is very characteristic of its lawrenceana parent, the spike was painfully slow to develop. To add to the suspense, the first two flower buds blasted, and I wondered whether I would see flowers after all. The third bud did open, and it was well worth the wait. The pendulous habit of C. usitana is very dominant in its hybrids, and this is no exception, although the spike has lost a lot of its length and the rachis is not quite so zig-zag in shape. I am pleased that the spikes produce a succession of flowers, as C. lawrenceana tends to produce only one or two flowers per spike. The current spike will have produced four flowers (though two didn’t open) before it runs out of steam, which bodes well for decent flower counts in the future. The flowers themselves are large, well-coloured, especially on the lip, and carry a light pleasant fragrance, which is always a plus point for me.
As is the case with seedlings, other growers may have plants producing quite different flowers to those on mine, but overall, I am very pleased with it. The plant has reached flowering size, while comfortably fitting into a 12cm pot.