Exploring Peloric Orchids: Unraveling the Mysteries of Radial Symmetry

Exploring Peloric Orchids: Unraveling the Mysteries of Radial Symmetry

Peloria, or pelorism, manifests in various orchid species, notably in Phalaenopsis, where it's characterized by flowers exhibiting abnormal numbers of petals or lips as a genetic trait. This expression, influenced by environmental factors, often appears random. Peloric flowers, which are radially symmetrical, contrast with the typical bilateral symmetry of orchids, such as foxgloves, mints, and snapdragons, which have a single plane of symmetry.

Peloric orchids exhibit a genetic mutation causing their petals to mimic the shape of the lip, shifting them from bilateral to more radially symmetrical forms. While orchids typically display bilateral symmetry, peloric orchids resemble star-shaped or radially symmetrical flowers, though not as perfectly as daisies or lilies.

Orchid flowers exhibit a remarkable variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, including peloric variations. The term 'peloria' was coined by Linnaeus, who observed this condition in Linaria vulgaris. Whether peloria enhances or detracts from an orchid flower is subjective, depending on how it's manifested.

The Cattleya Alliance boasts several peloric examples, with some considering the trait an enhancement, particularly in hybrids involving Cattleya intermedia fma. aquinii. This species contributes to splash-petal hybrids, notably Cattleya harrisoniana peloric.

The Vanda Alliance also includes peloric orchids, seen in certain lines of miniature and novelty hybrids bred from Phalaenopsis equestris. Additionally, the genus Dendrobium features peloric flowers, like the Dendrobium Kuranda Classic, known for its round, pansy-like appearance.

Judging peloric orchids varies by alliance; those in the Cattleya and Dendrobium alliances often receive AOS awards, while those in the Vanda Alliance may receive JC commendations.

Peloric orchids, whether loved or disliked, stand out as some of the most unusual specimens in the diverse world of orchids.

Happy Gardening!

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