Mutation With Orchids (1928)

Interesting Case of Freak Among Cattleyas
Lucien Reychler

Fig. 41 and 42 give photos of "artificial" Freaks of Cattleyas, provoked under the following circumstances.

In November 1917, 1 was obliged for want of fuel (I lived in the rationed district at the time of the German occupation) to cultivate my orchids during two months (until January 1918) at a very low temperature 10 degrees centigrade during the day, 7° and 8°, sometimes 5° during the night. The buds of the Cattleya Percivaliana and Cattleya Triannae, then later Cattleya Schraederae stopped growing, and many plants did not even flower. Towards the middle of January, I was able to put my orchids again into a more normal temperature, 16° to 17° centigrade.

The result was that the flowering of all the Cattleyas quoted above was delayed for two months. I had very few flowers and those plants which flowered, for the greater part, gave me flowers of the same kind as those represented by the photos fig. 41 and 42, that is to say, real Freaks. The explanation of the phenomenon is to be understood more or less as follows. During the two months that the cultivation at a low temperature lasted, the plants having already from the beginning of the cold period the rudiments of buds, no longer succeeded in developing them normally, one petal growing to the detriment of the other, which often grew into the first or was missing altogether. Most of the plants which had not yet any rudiments of buds at the end of November 1917 did not produce any flower at all. In short, I observed, as I stated above: 1) the great scarcity of flowering and 2) the appearance of a mass of Freaks.