This is a 2016 primary hybrid, using the popular and widely grown Coelogyne speciosa and the spectacularly dark lip traits of Coelogyne celebensis. Both parents are from warm Indonesian areas and both are classified in a very closely related group of Coelogynes called Section SPECIOSAE.   

Coelogyne Section SPECIOSAE orchids generally have medium to large flowers that open in succession (one after the other) on very weak flower stems that hang down under the weight of the large flower. One popular theory for this characteristic is that the large flowers act as an umbrella in their very wet tropical homes to protect the pollen from being washed onto the female organs and causing self pollination. Such an event could limit biodiversity and might not be in the best long term interests of the long term survival of the species.

In this hybrid there is a really strong dominance of colour from Coelogyne celebensis. Apple green is maintained in the sepals and petals and the extensive, extremely dark colouring of the throat is a major feature. The spotty/streaking of the lip is carried through to dominate the more typically white on the tip of the lip of Coelogyne speciosa.

The more typically pale colouring of the column of Coelogyne speciosa has muted the normally orange/brown column of Coelogyne celebensis with a resulting pale lemon column in the hybrid. The sepals of the hybrid are very narrow and highly reflexed as in the pollen parent.

The combination of attractive apple green sepals and petals together with the almost black lip/throat colouring and the prominent lemon/yellow column make for a striking colour combination. As the flower ages it fades to shades of brown and and the more muted colours of Coelogyne speciosa. The intense black of Coelogyne celebensis becomes lost.

This hybrid was pollinated 13.03.2011 and the seeds placed in flasks on 20.04.2012. These were removed from the flasked on 09.10.2013 and grown on to the first flowering 18.10.2016 - about a 5 1/2 year journey and about normal timings for Coelogynes.        

Negatives: Like most of its close relatives in this Coelogyne Section, it will show off its many talents best if it is grown in a hanging basket or a pot on a shelf high enough for you to look up into its downward facing flower.

As the parents are from Indonesia and PNG this hybrid will need a similar growing environment to be at its best, i.e. high humidity, warmth all year and dappled shade similar to forest conditions.

In keeping with my Coelogyne hybrising program this orchid is also named after a member of the family who grew up on the beautiful rural property known as Kirribilli. Unsurprisingly, she is also a committed garden and living among hundreds of orchids.

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Registration: Registration with the RHS as Coelogyne Kirribilli Raelene was recorded in November 2016.

Varieties: None known.

Hybrids: None registered

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