Since 500BC the Chinese were cultivating fragrant cymbidium species. Orchid cultivation and growing became popular in the late eighteenth century. Voyages around the world were sponsored by the wealthy to collect orchids, herbarium species, and other exotic plants. Few of the plants survived the voyages, with many perishing during the journey because of rot, dessication, and being eaten by rats on the ship. Possession of orchids was a symbol of great status, due to the rarity of the plants in Europe. Large glass houses called stove houses were built to provide conditions needed for tropical plants and orchids. Orchid nurseries such as Bull, Vietch, Loddiges, Williams, and Sanders was established.
Calanthe Dominyi was the first orchid produced in cultivation. It was a cross between Calanthe masuca and Calanthe furcata in 1853 by a grower for Veiteh and Sons at the suggestion of John Harris, an Exeter surgeon. The plant first bloomed in 1856. During this time period it was difficult to germinate seeds due to lack of fungus.
The first intergeneric hybrid was a cross of Cattleya mossiae and Laelia crispa made in 1863.
Journals began publications of new orchid hybrid in 1871 with the Gardener's Chronicle and in 1893 with The Orchid Review
In 1901 Frederick K. Sanders and his family began creating a comprehensive list of orchid hybrids which produced its first issue in 1906 titled Sander's List of Orchid Hybrids
In 1922 Knudson discovered that orchid seed had a high rate of germination when dispensed over a agar and chemical medium. This discovery increased the amount of propagated orchid hybrids.
In January 1, 1961 in accordance with obligations accepted by the International Registration Authority, the Royal Horticultural Society agreed to publish from time to time a list of all newly registered and accepted hybrid names. This was continued off of Sander's List of Orchid Hybrids.
- Stewart, Joyce, and Mark Griffiths, Royal Horticultural Society (Great Britain). Manual of Orchids. Timber Press, 1995.