Fleur du Cap and the Orchid

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Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Merlot, the flagship of Fleur du Cap’s award winning wines respected for their affinity with nature, has had a new Orchid named after it.

Paphiopedilum Fleur du Cap “Merlot” is an outstanding orchid of excellent breeding that has the same deep plum hues as the alluring Merlot that inspired its name. Living up to the fine reputation of its award winning namesake, Paphiopedilum Fleur du Cap “Merlot” is already making strides in the plant kingdom, with an Award of Merit from the South African Orchid Council.

“Fleur du Cap literally means flower of the Cap in French and with our slogan ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëWines inspired by Nature’, it is very inspirational to have a spectacular orchid named Fleur du Cap. We are very proud to be associated with this orchid and look forward to more orchids in this group of hybrids that carries the Fleur du Cap name,” said brand manager Anabelle Poggenpoel.

Many personalities or institutions have had roses named after them, but roses can be mass produced whereas no one has been able to clone Paphiopedilum orchids, which makes each plant unique. Just as each barrel of wine from the same vines may differ; when Paphiopedilum Fleur du Cap is recreated using the same parents the offspring will be distinctive in their own right.

“We needed to name the plant. Normally the colour and shape plays a big role in the naming of a plant. The colour reminded us of a good Merlot. We then thought of the similarities between growing an award winning orchid and that of growing and producing an award winning wine,” said Tinus Oberholzer of Plantae Orchids.,

Breeding of these dark coloured varieties started in the early 80’s in the United States. The term ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëVinicolour’ has been coined by Harold Koopowitz renowned orchid grower and hybridizer for these beauties. Vinicolour referring to the wine coloured flowers.

For the last 150 years orchids have been widely crossed in cultivation to produce over 110,000 hybrids (called grexes). Orchid hybrids can involve up to 20 distinct species from up to nine distinct natural genera. The first hybrid was made in 1854 and detailed records have been maintained since that time unlike other plant groups. When a rose gets named, it will be for a specific cultivar and many of the siblings in a cross can be given different names. With orchids all plants of the same cross (grex) will have the same name.

When you first plant the vines a lot of care and attention has to be given when selecting the variety. The choice of variety will depend on the environmental conditions of the farm, terroir and personal choice also plays a role. These plants have to be irrigated, fertilized, pruned and nurtured for a couple of years before they are ready for production. It is a game of patience. In similar vain, growing of quality orchids is a combination of hard work, perseverance and lots of loving care. One has to choose plants that will work in your growing conditions and then select a species or hybrid (grex) that in your mind might be of good quality. With some orchids, years of nurturing will go into a plant to get them from seedling to flowering size.

“It definitely turned out to be worth the effort with Paphiopedilum Fleur du Cap. This truly is a winner,” added Oberholzer.

For more information contact Plantae Orchids at plantae@webmail.co.za.

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