The term grex
(pl. greges), derived from the Latin noun grex, gregis
, has been coined to expand the Linnean binomial system to include hortucultural hybrids. Gregaric names are widely used in particular for orchids. A grex may be:
- a species (usually called a species, instead of a grex)
- a hybrid between two greges.
Linnean Treatment of Natural Hybrids: the Nothospecies
Naturally occurring interspecific hybrids are given Linnean binomials with the letter "x" between the generic epithet and the nothospecific epithet. An offspring of the nothospecies, either with the nothospecies or either of the parental species as the other parent, has the same nothospecific name. That is, the nothospecific binomial is an alias for a list of the ancestral species.
For example, a naturally produced hybrid between Cattleya warscewicziiRchb.f. 1854
and Cattleya aurea Linden 1883
would be called Cattleya Xhardyana Sander 1883
or Cattleya x hardyana
. An offspring of a Cattleya x hardyana
pollenized by another Cattleya x hardyana
would also be called Cattleya x hardyana
. Cattleya x hardyana
would also be the name of an offspring of a Cattleya x hardyana
pollenized by either a Cattleya warscewiczii
or a Cattleya aurea
, or an offspring of either a Cattleya warscewiczii
or a Cattleya aurea
pollenized by a Cattleya X hardyana
Hortucultural Treatment of Greges
A non-specific grex is initially produced by the deliberate hybridization of two different greges, and is treated as if it were some new species. Any additional plants produced from the hybridization of the same two parental greges belong to the new grex, as do any offspring of that same grex. The non-specific gregaric name differes from a specific name in that the gregaric part of the name is capitalized, is not italicized, and may consist of up to four words.
For example: an artificially produced hybrid between Cattleya warscewiczii
and Cattleya dowiana
(or Cattleya aurea
, which the RHS, the international orchid hybrid registration authority, considers to be a mere variety of and therefore synonymous with C. dowinana
) is called Cattleya
Hardyana. An artificially produced seedling that results from pollenizing a Cattleya
Hardyana with a Cattleya
Hardyana is also a Cattleya
Hardyana. However, the hybrid produced between Cattleya
Hardyana and Cattleya dowiana
is not Cattleya
Hardyana, but Cattleya
Prince John. Similarly, the artifical hybrid produced between Cattleya
Hardyana and Cattleya warscewiczii
Eleanor. These relationships are often described in the following manner:C.
Hardyana = C. warscewiczii
x C. dowianaC.
Eleanor = C.
Hardyana x C. warscewicziiC.
Prince John = C. dowiana
Due to the maintenance of many interspecific (and even intergeneric) barriers in the Orchidaceae by pollinator behavior, it is easy to produce complex interspecific and even intergeneric hybrid orchid seeds: all it takes is a human motivated to use a toothpick.Image:Cattleya warscewiczii.jpg|Cattleya warscewicziiImage:Cattleya dowiana 1880.jpg|Cattleya dowiana