The Perfect Imperfection: UH800 Peloria Mutation

What on earth is the UH800 Peloria Mutation?

For many years, the Hawaii orchid industry could only provide a limited amount of white orchids every season. Then, in 1990 UH Manoa released UH800, a hybrid like the existing popular white orchids. UH800 bloomed at a different and longer times of the year thus extending availability. This has been a great benefit ever since.

However, this hybrid occasionally produces flowers that are dramatically out of shape. This is known as the “Peloria” mutation. In one variety of these mutations the petals distort to heart shaped tips. The word itself comes from Greek pelōros – meaning monster – but the peloria flower is far from frightening¹. These amazing mutations make for some of the finest real flower jewelry pieces we produce.

Giving the UH800 Peloria Mutation a name

One of our biggest challenges is finding these specific heart shaped mutants among all the other flowers. Even more difficult is pairing them for earrings like a complex jigsaw puzzle. But worse yet – how does one get someone to buy “UH800 Peloria Mutation”? Is there no romance left in botany?

To solve this challenge we invited visitors to the Hilo Orchid Show to give this flower a more fitting name to suit its beauty. All the names submitted were charming and many well thought out. We received some in by mail several weeks after the show, from as far afield as the U.S. Mainland, Spain and Australia.

The best name would identify this particular flower and its condition while being unique from other flowers. First, we omitted general names like “wedding flower”. Second, we got rid of names that could apply to more than one flower, such as “snow white”.  Finally, while there was no need for the proposed names be in Hawaiian, yet most were (the unnamed flower has no history in Hawaiian tradition).

Finally, after much stimulating debate I selected “Imperfect Perfection” submitted by Marilyn Denio, of Hilo. Marilyn’s oxymoronic phrase is so fitting as it is the very imperfection of the peloria mutation that is its beauty. Ever since, we have gladly produced the Perfect Imperfection line of real flower jewelry. Available in both earrings and necklace, these beautiful mutants are sure to dazzle.

 

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1. “Peloria.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peloria. Accessed 5 Feb. 2020.

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