Introduction and Definition


What is an “Anomaly”?

Anomaly is an accentuated deviation of a normal standard. When the deviation occurs in a vegetable, this anomaly is called “Peloria” or “Peloric”.
Peloria - Floral anomaly, quite common in orchids, consists in a “Zygomorphous” flower transmuted into “Actinomorphous” one.
Zygomorphous - Kind of floral symmetry where the organ only admits one plan of symmetry. So it is a bilateral symmetry, it means, there are median organs and different organs, compelling to admit a median plan of symmetry. It is, in general, anther-posterior, not oblique. In other words, it fits the admitted concept of a perfect flower. In the case of the orchids, the flower should have 2 petals, a lip and three sepals;
Actinomorphous
- It is said about any organ or part of a plant that has a radiated symmetry and allows to trace many plans of symmetry. It is considered as a imperfect flower, it means, the segments are deformed.
Let us to analyze the occurrence in orchids.
The incidence of anomalies can occur in the floral segments as well as in the vegetative parts.
Some floral anomalies registered in the horticultural orchidophilia:
Trilabiate - When the anomaly occurs in the tip of the petals transmuting them into false lips.
Labeloid - When the anomaly occurs in the inferior sepals which present the characteristics of the lip. The superior petal can be wider;
Gamosepalous - when the sepals are united;
Gamopetalous - which the petals are united;
Homochlamydeous - Having a perianth formed by similar petals and sepals.

The Floral anomalies and the registers in Orchidophilia

During many years of orchidist, I noticed that some orchids presenting many anomalies in their floral segments such as petals transformed in lip; sepals in petals; sepal in labellum; lack of labellum with an exposed column; welded segments; distortion of color and many others aberration.
Among the registered imperfections, many showed a very special charm and many times forming defects which were "perfect”.
This work is not a technical one, it aims to register some mutations with a so exotic beauty that made me so enthusiastic inducing me to collect data in books and magazines about those occurrences.
Getting deep in the studies about the "Floral Anomalies”, I verified that this subject has been already researched for more than a century.

In "Lindenia”, there is a Cattleya labiata “Alfrediana” showing the petals and sepals with some characteristics of the frontal form of the lip. This occurrence has been attributed to a virus.
Lucien Linden, J.J. Linden's, in his book “Les Orchidées Exotiques”, edited in 1894, mentioned some anomalies considered as "aberrations”.
One of the notes concerned the flowers of Paxtonia -Thelymitra where the lip is similar to the petals, so that the perianth is composed by 3 petals and 3 sepals.
He also mentioned that another orchids didn't present roots such as Epipogium gmelinii and Corallorhiza. He noticed that Corallorhiza, Limodorum, Neottia (nidus-avis) had no leaves and in some case they were reduced, like scales.
He mentioned that Reichenbach f. described a species, Arundina petandra, presenting 3 stamens united to the gynostemium that had 2 lateral elongated bodies which were similar to the two another stamens. This is the reason for the name "petandra”.
Fritz Müller refers to Epidendrum, coming from Brazil, that had 2 stamens when the normal is three. At about 1875, Reichenbach f. described an orchid, Masdevallia muscosa, coming from New Granada, which had a sensitive particularity. The lip has a kind of crest where is located its sensibility which is activated at the smallest contact. When this contact lasts, the lip raises quickly, throwing against the column. If an insect lays on the flowers and touches the crest of the lip, it is taken and enclosed in a prison formed by lip and pressed against the flower. The insect can just get out by an opening at the anther, taking the pollinia glued in its body that, possibility, it will deposit in another flower. The floral stem and the ovaries are recovered by eyelashes that avoid creeper insects penetrate the flower.
There are notes about a Cypripedium volonteanum which presented 3 stamens when the normal is two. The staminode was replaced by a median stamen.
There are registers done by M. Rolfe, in 1891, that in M. Raphael's collection, an Epidendrum vitellinum bloomed with 5 racemes with double flowers. The lip has been transformed in a common petal and the column divided into 6 segments, similar to petals that occupied the center of the flower producing double flower with 12 floral segments.
In face of this occurrence, Lucien Linden referred to a theory defended by Barbosa Rodrigues.
D. Maxwell T. Master, Director of the “Gardners’ Chronicle” who did deep studies about the Teratology (the study of monstrosities) mentioned a Laelia pumila which presented, in the same peduncle, a normal flower and another with the lip transformed in petal. He also registered another Laelia that presented the petals transformed in lip.
In 1897, James Davidson showed a Laelia tenebrosa 'Janus' having a flower with half lip and half petal.
As we saw, those “Floral Anomalies”, monstrosities, aberrations, mutations or peloric forms served for the botanists making many hypothesis and theories about the basic form of the orchids, giving us a priceless legacy.


Barbosa Rodrigues, Cattleya intermedia aquinii and another anomalies


Much has been said about Dr. João Barbosa Rodrigues, even though, I should be repetitive because we can not mention "Floral Anomalies" without putting in evidence this celebrity of the Brazilian Botany born in 22/6/1842 and died in 6/3/1909.
I n 1884, Dr. João Barbosa Rodrigues found the Botanical Garden of Manaus - Amazonas directing it until 1890. Then he took the direction of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro where he stayed until his death.
In 1877, Barbosa Rodrigues classified the Cattleya trilabiata which presented normal petals and lips. The dorsal sepal were wider seeming to be a petal e the lateral sepals were transmuted into false lips. This occurrence has been registered in the publication “Genera et Species Orchidearum Novarum”. This plant, later reclassified as Cattleya warneri, was found in 1876, in the surrounding of Lagoa Santa, in the state of Minas Gerais.
Among his works, the most important is the “Iconografia de Orquidáceas Brasileiras”.

Dr. João Barbosa Rodrigues defended a theory that was, in a certain way, confirmed by the C. intermedia aquinii.
In 1881, he did a great study about this subject, published in the “Journal des Orchidées”, deserving a compliment done by the savant Dr. Eichler, Professor of Vegetal Morphology at the University of Berlin (some publications mention - Vienna). In this work, he proved that, organ-genetically, the normal flower of an orchid, composed by 6 divisions, was an anomalous flower. In theory, it should have 24 organs: A calyx with 6 sepals, a corolla with 6 petals and 12 reproducing-organs.
Let us do a slight recapitulation about the famous C. intermedia which discovery has been a remarkable event.
Between 1874/1875, Mr. Antônio J. da Silva Valadares living in Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, got a great quantity of Cattleya intermedia coming from the woods. When they bloomed, one blossomed completely different from the normal flower because it presented strangulated edges with purple blotches in the same color of the lip. In face of the great interest showed by his friend, Mr. Francisco de Aquino, one of the biggest orchidists of this time, Mr. Valadares gave it to him. Later, Mr. Aquino did some divisions and distributed among his friends. He also send one to Dr. Barbosa Rodrigues who considered it as a new species. In 1891, he did a drawing and an analytic study about this Cattleya intermedia and publishing them in “Plantas Novas Cultivadas no Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro”.
This C. intermedia knew a great success in England and was registered, in 1900, in the magazine “Gardners’ Chronicle”. In 1904, it was exhibited for the first time, in London, by the collector Mr Trevor Lawrence and was rewarded with a "Merit Certificate".
By this time, it was considered a hybrid, later, it has been proved that it was a native species. Another specimens with the same characteristics appeared and received individualized names.
Nowadays, there is an agreement between the orchidists that the aquinii is a designation that only can be applied to the primitive specimen and should use “aquinada' to identify the peloric form of the other specimens that have the same characteristics.
When we analyze a C. intermedia aquinada which presents petals with strangulated edges and purple blotches (in the same color of the lip), we see that the drawing fits to the horticultural concept that identifies it as a- “Peloric -Trilabiate”.
In this species, we also found specimens presenting the color characteristics but without strangulated petals. Inside the orchidist concept, this form is identified as “Flamed”. Strictly, I consider as “Trilabiate”.
Nowadays, we already have the occurrence of this form in the variety “Caerulea”.
Taking those horticultural concepts of C. intermedia, aquinada and flamed, we consider its form as inside the concept of “Floral Anomalies”, mainly, in face of the variations that we could verify in the distribution of the color.

Photographical Illustration of Floral Anomalies

To illustrate this work, I will present photographical reproductions of some “Floral Anomalies” that I observed in the blooming of my orchid collection.

C. labiata 'Curinga'

The inferior petals are transmuted into perfect lips, exactly similar to a true lip, except for the column. It shows, inside, a dark yellow which lights up ahead and becoming almost white and colored by soft lilac. The dorsal sepal is transmuted into petal. Inside those deformations, it presents a perfect structure. This anomaly is considered as a “Labeloid”
.

C. labiata 'Enjeitada'

Concerning the form, there is nothing to say, however it presents an anomaly that gives an aspect completely different. The front of the lip is totally spread, fleeing of the normal characteristics and give an emphasized purple blotch in the center.

C. labiata 'Mercado'

Analyzing the first flower, we can see a color in the lip which is not common. It is an 'Atro', it means, the purple in the front of the lip is spread for all border reaching the external part of the tube until the junction of the other segments. They don't show imperfections. Analyzing the second flower, we can see that the inferior sepals are welded and the lip is deformed. The petals and the superior sepal follow a normal structure.

C. labiata 'Crista de Galo'

This flower presents beautiful defects which fit it inside the concept of “Labeloid”. Petals without defects. The dorsal sepal transmuted into petal and the inferior ones are false lips. The lip doesn't show any alteration.


C. labiata 'Carraspana'

In this blooming, this orchids presented a dorsal sepal much more wider than the lateral ones. I considered it as a simple floral aberration. There is not yet another blooming to verify if the defect will be repeated.

C. intermedia 'Pandora'

I classified this intermedia as 'Flamed'. The purple blotches in the extremities of the petals are not strangulated. I considered, inside the species and the variety, very good. Taking the adopted concept, it is a "Trilabiate”.


C. labiata 'Porta Estandarte'

If we consider the form, inside the “Lilac” form, we should say that is good. Wider petals and united at the superior edges. The sepals are well placed. When we look at the lip, we see that the color of the front of a side is completely defective showing a purple-striate color that disappears completely in the other side

C. warneri

It is a “Peloric”, known by the orchidists as a “Trilabiate”. As a “Floral Anomaly", we couldn't ask for principles of perfection. Even though it has a good formation. Its color is very original.


C. labiata 'Odilon'

The defects of this flowers make us to classify it as a 'Labeloid'.
The petals and lip do not present deformations.
The dorsal sepal became a petal and the lateral false lips. “Beautiful flower”.

C. labiata 'Conto do Vigário'

We can considered as a 'Labeloid'. The purple color of the front of the lip is broken by the purple central vein with veined ramifications. The lateral sepals present a central vein with a yellow streak the same color of the interior of the lip tube, brooking the lilac. The dorsal sepal presents a widening, almost becoming a petal. The petals show a normal formation.

C. labiata 'Foleyana'

In the first frame, the flower presents normal characteristics. In the second, we can see a floral degeneration hard to be identified. The superior segment id formed by the aggregation of the petals with the dorsal sepal. The lateral segments concern the lateral sepals. The lip doesn't show any defect nor in its structure neither in the color.


C. intermedia 'Bandaleon'

The flower shows the deformed extremities of the petals, with a peculiar strangulation of the the 'aquinadas'. However the drawing presented differ from the traditional color. In the extremities, it shows just small dark purple strokes (in the same color of the lip). The sepals have a perfect structure and are well triangulated.


C. intermedia 'Cara de Gato'

I have difficulties to determinate the classification of this "intermedia". The purple blotch of the petals, which starts as it was a “Flamed” (because it is not strangulated), spreads through the central vein of the petals as a "striated". Let us forget the polemics and enjoy the very beautiful flower.
Notice another blooming where the blotches of the sepals present a small streak, with out the characteristics of the basic color.
I ask: How to classify? “Maculata”, “Flamed” or “Striated” ?


C. intermedia ' Brazão'

As an 'intermedia', it is excellent. Round petals covering the sepals show a good structure. The lip is perfect. This flower shows an anomaly in the petals where we can see a golden yellow streak, the same color of the interior of the tube, going through the central vein. As the tips are not strangulated, I considered it as a “Flamed”.


Normal blooming

Anomalous blooming
Cattleya labiata 'Schuller'

As “Rubra”, it always deserved a special place in any collection. Its color is very dark purple and has a medium size. The petals are round and united at the superior edges. The front of the lip is completely purple.

The second one is a completely different blooming showing a anomaly where the petals are welded with the dorsal sepal.
The inferior petals grew up taking the place of the petals. The lip is normal. Even inside this imperfection, it is out standing.

Cattleya intermedia 'Chapeuzinho Vermelho'

This "intermedia" shows in the tips of the petals, a strangulation recovered with a purple color as there is in the front of the lip. That identifies it as a "aquinii" Considering this aberration, its form is very good. It deserves a special place as a representative of this anomaly.


Normal blooming

Anomalous blooming
Cattleya warneri ' Itabirana'

This is a traditional warneri - semi-alba. The first one is a flower with a normal structure. Considering the species and its color form, it stands out. The segments are white showing a solferin and ramified vein in the front of the lip.

The second one has normal sepals and petals but we notice the lack of the lip, showing just the column.


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