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Re-classification of Orchid family names

You may have begun to see new family names on the name tags of orchids this year. The international naming convention re-classified many orchids, especially in the Cattleya Alliance. The sub-families Cattleya, Laelia, Bassovola, Epidendrum and Sophronitis have all had changes.

Laelia orchids that are not found in Mexico were moved to Cattleya with one year as Sophronitis. Then Sophronitis were all moved to Cattleya and the family Sophronitis disappeared. As a result the sub-family Potinaria is gone since it was a cross with Sophronitis. L. purpurata the parent of hundreds of orchid hybrids is now C. purpurata.

Bassovola digbyana and glauca were moved to a new family Rhyncolealia (Rl.), which has nothing to do with the sub-family Laelia. These plants had hundreds hybrids and those hybrids were used to make others so every hybrid using these is now different. 

Epidendrum have been split into Orchids with pseudobulbs going to the Encyclia sub-family and only reed Epidendrum remaining Epidendrum. Others were moved to the new sub-family Prosthechea (Psh.)

Some Cattleya were moved to a new family Guarianthe (Gur.).

The family Schomburgkia was divided into the hollow cane varieties being re-named Myrmecophila (Mcp.) and the rest being moved to the Cattleya Alliance as Laelia species.

Many Cattleya Alliance orchids that were Bc. Blc. Lc. (our most favorites) are now very different.

As a result you will see new names for these Intergeneric hybrids. Here are a few of the more common.

Rl. digbyanaRlc. Rhyncholaeliocattleya - Rhyncolaelia x Cattleya

Rtt. Rhynitanthe - Rhyncolaelia x Guarianthe

Ctt.. Cattlianthe - Cattleya x Guarianthe

Ryn. Guarianthe - Rhyncolaelia x Guarianthe

Rcc. Rhyncatclia - Rhyncolaelia x Encyclia

Rth. Rhyncattleanthe - Rhyncolaelia x Cattleya x Guarianthe

Rby Rhynchobrassoleya - Rhyncolaelia x Bassovola x Cattleya

Bsn. Brassanthe - Bassovola x Guarianthe

Cty. Catyclia - Cattleya x EncycliaRtt. Carolina Golden D'Or

The list just goes on and you are probably losing interest.

Rely on the hybrid name not the family for your identifications. Blc. Carolina Golden D'Or is now Rtt. Carolina Golden D'Or because Bassovola digbyana was re-classified, the Laelia was changed to Cattleya and one of the Cattleya was re-classified as Guarianthe. But the hybrid name does not change and they are still Cattleya Alliance so the care they need is the same.

It is a lot of confusion so ask questions. If you are not sure about a plant ask any knowledgeable grower they will be happy to help.