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Horticulture Digest

Date Last Edited:  08/24/2001

Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service

Horticulture Digest #105

Dendrobium Louis Bleriot has been cultivated in Hawai'i for its individual flowers used for leis. Its major attribute is its winter-spring flowering when lei flowers are usually scarce. It is, however, more difficult to grow than the amphidiploid c ut flower cultivars. Also clonal propagation over the years through use of offshoots (keikis) has resulted in an accumulation of viruses, particularly Cymbidium mosaic virus.

History of Selections

Dendrobium Louis Bleriot was registered in 1929 by Vacherot in France as a hybrid between D. phalaenopsis and the natural hybrid, D. superbiens (D. phalaenopsis x D. discolor). Several seedlings were introduced in Hawaii , and at least three clones have been in commercial cultivation. All clones were determined to be triploid, having two sets of D. phalaenopsis chromosomes (2 P genomes) and one set of D. discolor chromosomes ( I C genome).

Because of the heavy infection of Cymbidium mosaic virus in the existing Louis Bleriot cultivar, a grower suggested our developing a seed-propagated Louis Bleriot cultivar comparable to the seed-propagated amphidiploid cut flower cultivars developed earli er by the University of Hawaii. The existing Louis Bleriot clones are triploid, and triploids are known to be poor breeders. The available diploid D. superbiens is expected to exhibit irregular meiotic behavior and produce variable progenies if fer tile. Thus to produce uniform, seed-propagated progenies of D. Louis Bleriot, it was necessary to develop an amphidiploid D. superbiens.

We proceeded to place diploid D. superbiens in tissue culture, then treated the protocorm-like bodies in liquid culture with 0.05 percent colchicine for five days and successfully induced tetraploid (amphidiploid) D. superbiens.

In January-February 1988, four D. Louis Bleriot crosses were made as follows: Kl291 D. superbiens 2N x D. phalaenopsis 'Kosaki' K1292 D. superbiens 2N x D. phalaenopsis 'D390-60' K1293 D. superbiens 4N x D. phalaenopsis 'D354-3' K1298 D. superbiens 2N x D. phalaenopsis 'D354-3'

The crosses were germinated in May, 1988, compotted from December, 1988 to February, 1989 and moved to 2-inch pots in May-June, 1989. The crosses involving diploid D. superbiens produced between 40-60% viable embryos as determined by examining stai ned seeds under the microscope. The tetraploid D. superbiens produced 94% viable seeds.

While in 2-inch pots, crosses K1291, K1292, and K1298 began flowering in summer, 1990 and exhibited a wide range of colors and shape of flowers. On the other hand, K1293 exhibited uniformity, and so the plants were moved into 6-inch pots and placed under 30 percent saran shade for evaluation.
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Description of D. Louis Bleriot

The description of D. Louis Bleriot, K1293, is given below:

Scape length (in)                           7.2 + 1.6

Raceme length (in)                         19.5 + 4.0

No. of flowers per spray                   14.2 + 4.4

Natural spread of flower-width (in)         2.4 + 0.13

Natural spread of flowers-length (in)       1.9 + 0.13

Pedicel length (in)                         1.3 + 0.11

Leaf length (in)                            4.9 + 0.50

Leaf width (in)                             2.0 + 0.21

Pseudobulb height at first flower (in)      8.4 + 2.3 

Pseudobulb height upon termination         35.5 + 7.2 
of evaluation (in) 

Percent bud drop                            2.05 

Color of flower (RHSCC)                    Purple-violet 80A

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Spray Yields

Spray yield of K1293 from August, 1990 to December, 1993 is presented in Table l. Production was relatively low from April through June and high from July to January.

Table 1. Monthly and annual spray yield of Dendrobium Louis 
Bleriot, K1293 (based on 24 plants).

MONTH     1990     1991     1992     1993     TOTALS

Jan                  3       16        8        27

Feb                  2        6        5        13

Mar                 12        5        4        21

Apr                  5        3        0         8

May                  1        1        3         5

Jun                  1        0       10        27

Jul                  5       20       14        13

Aug         4        3       17       17        21

Sep         1        5       21       43         8

Oct         0       19       15       24         5

Nov         0       15       31       26        72

Dec         3       21       34       24        82

TOTAL       8       92      169      178       447

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In response to the expressed interest of some growers in cultivating the seed-propagated Louis Bleriot, we released some seed pods as UHl392 in 1992. UH1392 differs slightly from K1293 in that the D. phalaenopsis parent, D354-3 was substituted with D429. The cross, K1392, was made in September 1990, and the offspring were observed to be similar to K1293.

Dendrobium Louis Bleriot, UHl392, represents a seed-propagated lei cultivar developed upon request of a grower by employing the genome engineering technique. Louis Bleriot appears to be diminishing in popularity because of the abundance of cutflowe r cultivars that could also be used for leis.

Some growers have been interested in UHl392 as a potted plant cultivar because:

  • The first flower can be obtained on relatively short pseudobulbs under three years after germination.
  • The mean height of pseudobulbs of K1293 at first flower was only 8 1/2 inches.
  • The attractive deep purple D. phalaenopsis-type flowers are round with overlapping petals and sepals.
  • Thus, UHl392 might serve dual purposes--for lei flower and flowering potted plant production.

H. Kamemoto, haruyuki@hawaii.edu
A. R. Kuehnle, heidi@hawaii.edu
T. D. Amore and N. C. Sugii

Dept. of Horticulture

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