World Orchid Conference 2008
Broughtonia negrilensis var semi-alba ‘Danny Bennett’
(Wild collected plant)
The genus Broughtonia was first described under the binomial system
of nomenclature, by Dr. Robert Brown of ‘Brownian motion’ fame in
1813 and was named in honor of Arthur Broughton, an English Botanist who had
worked in Jamaica. When the genus was set up, it was comprised of a single species
– Broughtonia sanguinea, which is endemic to the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
In 1961 Jack Fowlie described Broughtonia negrilensis, a species found
only in the south eastern end of Jamaica and vegitatively almost indistinguishable
from Broughtonia sanguinea, except for the color of the foliage, which tens
to be glaucous (bluish). The earliest records available indicate that Broughtonia
sanguinea was first named by Sir Hans Sloane in 1696 as Viscum radice bulbosa
minus, Delphinii flore rubro specioso. According to Withner (1996) the species
was first introduced to Kew Gardens in 1793 by Water Ewer and was one of the
first epiphytic orchids to be cultivated in England.
The genus Broughtonia is very closely allied to Cattleyopsis and Laeliopsis and
some taxonomists like Dressler (1966) and Adams (1971) have included both Cattleyopsis and Laeliopsis under a single genus Broughtonia.Others like Sauleda
and Adams (1984) and Withner (1996) have chosen to keep them separate.
The species has been well known for a long time and was first named by Sir
Hans Sloan (1696) prior to the introduction of the binomial system by Lindley.
Sloan described it as “with beautiful red flowers like a Larkspur”
(Adams, 1971). In 1788 Swartz named the species Epidendrum sanguineum (Withner,
1996) and it was given it’s present name by Robert Brown in 1813 when
he set up the genus Broughtonia. The species is quite common in most coastal
and some inland areas of the island. It occurs in two markedly different habitats.
In the coastal areas it is quite frequently found on trees and scrubland in
the dry limestone forests, oftentimes very close to the sea. Here plants tend
to grow close to the ground or in pockets of limestone filled with dry leases
and twigs and where the humidity is highest. In other areas, mainly inland and
especially where rainfall is high, it occurs is large trees such as the Guango
(Samanea saman), a giant legume. On these trees it is found high on the tops
of the branches, where the plants are able to dry our quickly after rainfall.
The flowers of Broughtonia sanguinea are mainly red to a pinkish purple with
pronounced veining. Typically plants bear 6 – 20 flowers clustered at
the ends of sometimes branched spikes that vary from 20 – 35 inches long.
Broughtonia sanguinea var alba ‘Mem. Claude H. Hamilton’ AM/AOS
Broughtonia sanguinea var aquinii aurea 'Sunset'
Broughtonia. sanguinea 'Peaches'
Broughtonia sanguinea 'Hamlyn's Peachy' JC-AOS x self
Broughtonia sanguinea var aurea 'Hamlyn' AM-AQ-AOS
|Flowers are typically
3.5 – 4.5 cm. wide. The blooms are usually circular in shape, flat with
erect well held petals and sepals and a wide flared lip giving the appearance
of a miniature Cattleya. Plants from the south coastal areas of the island
tend to be lighter coloured, have larger lips, more open form and with more
pronounced veining, than those on the north coastal areas. I suspect that many
of these may be a hybrid swarm with some other species, possibly either Broughtonia
negrilensis or one now extinct. Plants from north coastal areas tend to
branch more frequently and produce secondary and even tertiary branches that
those from south coastal areas. The compact, oftentimes flattened pseudobulbs
bear 1 – 4 fleshy leaves that have smooth margins. The pseudobulbs have
two nodes or flattened scars that encircle them, unlike Laeliposis domingensis where these scars or nodes are markedly raised and the leaf margins erose.
There are two main named colour variants. There are the alba variety (white)
and the aurea form (yellow). There are a host of other color forms. Most commonly
these are in shades of pink to purple but also semi alba, aquinii, peach and
several other colors have been found in the wild or produced artificially from
The species was first described by Dr. Jack Fowlie in 1961 in The American
Orchid Society Bulletin. It was for a long time confused with two other species, Laeliopsis domingensis (Lindley) Lindley a species from the island of
Hispaniola, which is separated into Haiti and The Dominican Republic, and Cattleyopsis
lindenii (Lindley) Cogniaux from Cuba and the Bahamas. Broughtonia negrilensis Fowlie has also been called Broughtonia lilacina Northrop, a synonym
of Laeliopsis domingensis (Lindley) Lindley. Vegitatively, it is almost
identical to Broughtonia sanguinea except that the foliage has a dull bluish
green coloration which is detectible by experienced growers.
The flowers of Broughtonia negrilensis are typically in shades lavender with
very pronounced darker veining. The lip is long and trumpet shaped and tightly
folded so as to completely encircle the column and much larger than that of
Broughtonia sanguinea; the base of the lip has yellowish hairs. Very often the
sepals and petals arch slightly forward so as to give a slightly cupped appearance
though not nearly as cupped as Laeliopsis domingensis. A white variety is also
known but is very rare in cultivation.
Because it was confused in the past with Laeliopsis domingensis, many hybrids
attributed to the former were actually hybrids of this species. In 1984 Dr.
Ruben Sauleda writing in Rhodora (1984) named the natural hybrid Bro. jamaicensis (Bro. sanguinea x Bro. negrilensis) and in 1984 in an article in “The
Orchid Digest” he pointed out several differences between Bro. negrilensis and Lps. domingensis. No hybrids of the species were accepted by the International
Orchid Registrar until 1985 when Bro. Seagull’s Jamaica was registered
(later changed to Bro. Jamaicensis).
Seed capsules of Broughtonia negrilensis like Broughtonia sanguinea mature very
quickly, taking approximately thirty five days. Primary hybrids of the species
typically inherit the large tubular lips. Mostly, these hybrids are dwarf and
early blooming producing 4- 5 cm flowers on erect inflorescences as with those
of Broughtonia sanguinea. They tend to be mainly in shades of lavender, with
very distinct veining some as well as some with flaring on the petals. Some
pure white hybrids have been bred recently. Perhaps the most notable of these
is Ctna. Jamaica Gypsy alba ‘Hamlyn’ (Bro. negrilensis var alba ‘Hamlyn’ CHM/AOS x C. bowringiana alba ‘Hamlyn’
Ctna. Jamaica Gypsy alba ‘Hamlyn’
Lpna. Hamlyn’s Masterpiece ‘Phillip Hamilton’ AM/AQ/AOS
(Bro. sanguinea aurea ‘Andrew’ AM/AQ/AOS x Lpna. Kingston
alba ‘Hamlyn’ AM/AOS)
The late W.W.G. Moir of Hawaii was the first person to have registered a Broughtonia hybrid, with the Royal Horticultural Society. In the early 1950’s he visited
several countries in the Caribbean and obtained plants of several orchid species
native to the area that he later used for hybridizing. One of the first hybrids
that that he bred was Ctna. Rosy Jewel which was registered in 1956.
It is a hybrid of Broughtonia sanguinea from Jamaica and Cattleya bowringiana from Belize, then Known as British Honduras. Some superb clones of this hybrid
are still present in collections today. They are compact to dwarf plants that
grow well and flower early, in small pots. Many will flower for the first time
in a 2” pot. They tend to produce multiple growths, many flowering on
each new growth, thus producing many inflorescences during the year. The flowers
though comparatively small, open sequentially on the inflorescence, which very
often produces secondary branches, oftentimes after the initial crop of blooms
are produced. The author has flowered Broughtonia hybrids with fifty
four flowers and buds on one inflorescence and with a total of five inflorescences
on a plant grown in a 4.5” pot.
Though the Broughtonias breed freely with many different species within Laelinae, there are no registered primary hybrids with any of the unifoliateCattleyas
species, the large unifoliate flowered hybrids, or with Rhyncholaelia.
primary Broughtonia hybrids therefore have all been made using the bifoliate
Cattleyas or species of other genera. These were then used as surrogates for
introducing Broughtonia genes into the larger flowered species and hybrids.
In general, these crosses produce plants that have larger but fewer blooms than
the bifoliate hybrids.
In the early years of Broughtonia hybridizing, perhaps the most popular and
successful hybrid was Ctna. Keith Roth (Bro. sanguinea x C. bicolor) bred by
Fields Orchids of Miami, Florida and registered in 1966. This grex was used
to produce many hybrids, that became very popular in the mid 1970’s, during
the O.P.E.C. oil crisis, when U.S. growers were searching for plants that flowered
often and that did not require a lot of greenhouse space. Ctna. Jamaica
Red (Bro. sanguinea x Ctna. Keith Roth), Lctna. Roy Fields
(Ctna. Keith Roth x Lc. Mattie Shave) and Stlmra. Kelly
(Ctna. Keith Roth x Brassavola nodosa) are still some the best
of a long list of hybrids bred from Ctna. Keith Roth, the vast majority
of which were unregistered. Its popularity probably led to its downfall. In
the 1980’s it was bred to virtually any hybrid or species that would hold
a seed pod. The result was a plethora of poor hybrids that very clearly showed
their ancestry. There was sameness to many of them, as they tended to be almost
all some shade of lavender to reddish purple. This created the stereotype of
a Broughtonia hybrid being a little purple orchid. Not all of these hybrids
were purple however, as there were hybrids such as Otr. Maili’s
Surprise (Ctna. Keith Roth x Blc. Waikiki Gold), that has peachy
coloured tones, and others unregistered. In 1979 Stewart’s Orchids of
California registered Ctna. Why Not AQ/AOS (Bro. sanguinea x C.
aurantiaca). This grex became very popular in later years when H & R
Orchids of Hawaii remade the cross and sold many high quality seedlings to enthusiasts.
One particular clone, Ctna. Why Not ‘Roundabout’ AM/AOS was
particularly outstanding. It is bright red with a large bright yellow disc in
the throat. Ctna. Why Not has been used to produce a large number of
very attractive hybrids, noted for their floriferousness, good substance, early
flowering and ease of culture. Notable among these are Ctna. Henry Wan
(Bro. negrilensis x Ctna. Why Not), Ctna. Cosmo-sanguine (Broughtonia sanguinea x Ctna. Why Not), Ctna. Starrlyn (Ctna. Capri x Ctna. Why Not), Lctna. Ernest Cromwell (Lctna. Dal’s Toy x Ctna. Why Not), Osmt. Richard Fulford (Lpna. Kingston x Ctna. Why Not), Hknsa. Keepsake (Slc. Precious Stones
x Ctna. Why Not) and Smbctna. Jamaica Fire (Schom. brysiana
x Ctna. Why Not). All of these hybrids are notable for their bright red
and yellow tones and for their floriferousness. To date very few white or yellow
hybrids have been produced. One of the first and certainly the most popular
of the white Broughtonia hybrids is Ctna. Maui Maid (Bro. sanguinea x C. Hawaiian Variable). Some of the notable modern white hybrids include Osmt. Jamaica Love alba (Ctna. Orglade’s Little Lover x Lpna. Kingston alba), Lpna. Hamlyn’s Masterpiece AQ/AOS
(Bro. sanguinea aurea x Lpna. Kingston alba, Ctna. Jamaica
Joy alba ‘Hamlyn’ HCC/AOS (Bro. sanguinea var aurea x Ctna. Capri) and Ctna. Jamaica Gypsy alba (Bro. negrilensis
alba x C. bowringiana alba). There are some new hybrids using the
yellow, peloric form of Broughtonia sanguinea. Notable among these are Lpna. Hamlyn’s Masterpiece (aurea forms), Ctna. Jamaica
Joy var aurea, Currently, a number of very attractive Broughtonia hybrids are to be found in the
marketplace. Some of these are hybrids of Ctna. Capri ‘Lea’
AM/AOS (Ctna. Jamaica Red x C. intermedia var aquinii)
and have very attractive flaring or shading on the petals. A good example of
this type is Ctna. Quest’s Millennium (Ctna. Jamaica Red
x Ctna. Capri). Others have Lctna. Peggy-San ‘Cynosure’
AM/AOS as an ancestor with more vivid flaring on the petals. One such is the
very striking Hknsa. Sogo Doll (Lctna. Peggy San x Slc. Katsy Noda). Ctna. Orglade’s Little Lover has produced many attractive
hybrids including albas. Among these is Ctna. Jamaica Gem (Ctna.
Orglade’s Little Lover x Ctna. Capri) a hybrid with several clones
that consistently produce over fifteen flowers on one inflorescence while bearing
multiple inflorescences. Lpna. Kingston alba ‘Hamlyn’
AM/AOS (Bro. sanguinea aurea x Lps. domingensis alba) was bred
by the late William Osment of Cuba and Hollywood, Florida. These are vigorous
growing plants that flower once per year, producing very attractive pure white
flowers on upright inflorescences. Mr. Osment would only sell me one small 2”
plant at a time and so I found it necessary to pay several visits to his nursery,
so as to be able to purchase a number of seedlings. This clone has produced
many very attractive hybrids, in a variety of colors, varying from white to
yellows to lavenders and purples. Two grexes have to date been recognized by
American Orchid Society judges with the prestigious Award of Quality. These
are Osmt. Elizabeth Hamilton (Lpna. Kingston alba x Ctna. Maui Maid alba) and Lpna. Hamlyn’s
Masterpiece (Bro. sanguinea aurea x Lpna. Kingston alba).
Many of our modern Broughtonia hybrids have been bred from a peloric
form of the species – Broughtonia sanguinea var aurea ‘Hamlyn’
AM/AQ/AOS. This clone consistently produces offspring in a variety of colors
with very wide, often overlapping petals, comparatively wide sepals and large
full lips many with outstanding form. It is from a grex that was recognized
with an Award of Quality, and was used in turn, to produce another grex that
also received and Award of Quality from the American Orchid Society.
Whither the future of Broughtonia hybridizing? We should not only aim
to produce hybrids in a greater variety of colors but ones that have blooms
better displayed on the inflorescence. More hybrids need to be made using the
very attractive though difficult to find species like Ctps. lindenii and Ctps. ortgiesiana. Ctps. ortgiesiana has the potential to produce flowers
that are better displayed on the inflorescence, with better spacing between
the flowers, but tends to have weak inflorescences. Tetraploid forms of this
species should help to correct this problem. Broughtonia hybridizing
is progressing and no longer in its infancy. There is still much to be done
and many new hybrids to be made.
Joy alba ‘Hamlyn’ HCC/AOS
Ctna. Jamaica Gypsy ‘Hamlyn’
(Bro. negrilensis alba x C. bowringiana alba)
Smbctna. Jamaica Fire
Broughtonia sanguinea var aurea ‘Hamlyn’
Ctna. Jamaica Joy 'Claudia'
Ctna. Joy 'Jay'
Osmt. Ernest Cromwell
Smbna. Elaine Fisher 'Hamlyn' HCC-AOS
Adams, C.D. (1971). Broughtonia – A brief review. The Florida Orchidist
Vol. 13, P. 8 – 11
Adams, C.D. (1971). Broughtonia again. The Florida Orchidist. Vol. 14,
P. 101 – 105.
Adams, C.D. (1972). Flowering Plants of Jamaica. University of the West Indies,
Fawcett, W. & Rendle, A.B. (1910) Flora of Jamaica, Vol. 1. British Museum,
Fowlie, J.A. (1961). Ecology notes: Natural hybridization in the genus Broughtonia.
American Orchid Society Bulletin, Vol. 30 No. 9, P 707 – 708.
Fowlie, J.A. (1961). Obscure species – Broughtonia species compared.
Gloudon A. & Tobisch, C. (1995). Orchids of Jamaica. The Press University
of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston, Jamaica
Sauleda, R.P. & Adams, R.M. (1984) A reappraisal of the orchid genera
Broughtonia R. Br. Cattleyopsis Lem. and Laeliopsis Lindl.
Rhodora 86: 445 – 467
Sauleda, R.P & Adams, R.M. (1989). Revision of the West Indian genera Broughtonia,
Cattleyopsis and Laeliopsis. Orchid Digest 53:39
Sloane, H. (1696) Catalogus plantarum quae in insula Jamaica sponte proveniunt.
Withner, C.L. (1996), The Cattleyas and their relatives. Volume IV. The Bahamian
Caribbean species. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
Photos by Claude W. Hamilton