Monday, December 31, 2007

Polyrrhiza lindenii [Dendrophylax lindenii (Lindl.) Benth. ex Rolfe] The Ghost Orchid

Polyrrhiza lindenii [Dendrophylax lindenii (Lindl.) Benth. ex Rolfe]...

Native to Southwest Florida and Cuba.
In Florida, the range is localized in swamps in the Fakahatchee, Big Cypress and Corkscrew areas...

Found on trees, including pop ash, pond apple, bald cypress, maple, and oak in hardwood hammocks, sloughs and cypress domes.

... Blooms appear May through August, although occasionally in other months; heaviest blooming is in July. Typically the plant has one or two blooms, but there can be as many as 10. Individual blooms last 10 to 14 days.

... Pollination is done by the giant sphinx moth.

.., The ghost orchid got its name because the plant has no leaves ? only roots ? and when it blooms, the flower seems to float in mid-air.
The highest known location of any ghost orchid in Collier County was in Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, the orchid capital of North America, at
23 feet; the Corkscrew orchid was 45 to 50 feet above the ground.
... the Corkscrew orchid bloomed three times between July 7 and Oct. 15.
... Usually, one or two blooms appear; the Corkscrew orchid had 12 flowers
the first time it bloomed, 10 the second and three the third."


photo : [caption : A... ghost orchid... on a bald cypress tree at Corkscrew
Swamp Sanctuary...
Sanctuary officials believe the flower is between 20-30 years old...]

"the Fakahatchee Strand...
a wild orchid clinging to a branch.
... said state park guide John Elting. "That's a clamshell orchid blooming..."

rare ghost orchids and ribbon orchids.
Wild orchids draw some of the visitors to the Fakahatchee Strand...

The Fakahatchee Strand lies west of the Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. A strand is a narrow slough, pronounced "sloo," where trees grow along a natural depression. Park rangers joke that the Fakahatchee is "the Grand Canyon of the Everglades," even though it's only a few feet deeper than the areas surrounding it.

Beginning in World War II, the giant cypress of the Fakahatchee were logged for shipbuilding and construction. Millions of feet of timber were cut in
the 1940s and '50s. Small railroad tracks carried logs out of the swamp. The ridges that supported those tracks still line the strand.
The 90,000-acre swamp gained fame in "The Orchid Thief," a 1998 book by Susan Orlean. Her story of an... orchid poacher became a... 2003 movie
under the name "Adaptation." Orlean described the Fakahatchee as "beautiful the way a Persian carpet is beautiful: thick, intricate, lush, almost
monotonous in its richness."

Elting loved the vivid storytelling and painstaking research of "The Orchid Thief," but said Orlean didn't care for being in the swamp. She didn't take
the wading tour."


Steve Peralta

"the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in southwest Florida.
... has been the scene of numerous orchid thefts...

park biologist Mike Owen...
lead[s]... group of orchid enthusiasts... during a four-hour swamp walk.

more species of orchids... grow wild here than anywhere else in the country...

There are 315 ghost orchids scattered across the Fakahatchee's 85,000 acres, according to Owen... They don't bloom until summer...

The park offers these Saturday tours during Florida's November to April dry season, when the orchids are easier to find.

The park lies about 70 miles west of Miami, across the Miccosukee Indian Reservation and a five-mile stretch of road...
The Fakahatchee is part of the Everglades ecosystem that streams down from Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Keys. It's the largest strand swamp in the world [really ?]: a 19-mile long channel cut 2- to 3-feet deep into a limestone bed over more than 5,000 years. Low streams called sloughs flow throughout the strand...

[Owen's ] notes document the locations and conditions of endangered plants; some... are growing where previous orchids were stolen... come across a ghost orchid, it will get a detailed entry - how many roots it has, how high off the ground it is and other remarks on its health.
our first orchid... flat green roots of a ribbon orchid...
a blooming orchid that Owen calls the "roller coaster orchid." "flowered star orchid," he says...

Owen temporarily stopped taking tours into this particular slough after several orchids went missing.
He's overjoyed to find tiny helmet and night-scented orchids growing in a blank patch in the moss on a tree - the scar of an orchid theft.

Their remote habitat and fear of the unknown protect the orchids that remain from all but the most determined thieves, Owen says.
After more than three hours in the water, we've seen 10 different orchid species on this walk - but not the ghost orchid....

Owen's hands suddenly go up in victory. A thin green ribbon with white dash lines appears to be tied around the rough bark of a pond apple tree. It's a young ghost orchid.
Orchid nurseries famous in the state... can't grow these delicate plants...
Ghost orchids restrict themselves to very specific growing conditions, pollinated by just one species of moth...

Owen is encouraged to find three active growing tips... and deems the plant generally healthy. He's been watching it since 2003, and guesses it could
be another decade before it blooms.
The park is about a two-hour drive west of Miami and is located just west of Copeland...
Swamp walks last about four hours."


A Rare Blooming Ghost Orchid found in Florida's Audubon Corkscrew Swamp

A rare ghost orchid discovered last year in Florida's Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary began blooming this week, and Naples-area hotels are making the most of the event with special promotions.
The elusive plant was the subject of the best seller The Orchid Thief and its movie spinoff, Adaptation, which charted the sometimes-bizarre world of orchid enthusiasts. There are believed to be about 1,000 ghost orchids in southwest Florida, but few are easily accessible, and their whereabouts are kept under wraps to protect them from poachers.
But the Corkscrew Swamp specimen is within 100 feet of a visitor boardwalk and visible with a spotting scope. Even better, the plant produced 12 flowers in a single blooming last year — unprecedented, says executive director Ed Carlson. Blooms typically last three weeks, but last year this plant blossomed three times into September. Tourism types are keeping their fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Taiwan Orchid Plantation, an orchid biotech park located in Tainan

"The National University of Kaohsiung (NUK) forged cooperative ties... with
the Taiwan Orchid Plantation, an orchid biotech park located in Tainan
County, southern Taiwan... to breed high-quality orchid seedlings and boost
the competitiveness of Taiwanese orchids on the international market.

... a greenhouse will be built for the use of academia-industry cooperative
research projects.
The NUK will also install a laboratory in the park to engage in virus tests
on orchids in a drive to breed healthy and high quality seedlings...

The cooperation is part of the government's national high-tech development
program in agricultural biotechnology being carried out by NUK, National
Tsinghua University, National Cheng Kung University, National Pingtung
University of Science and Technology and the Taichung-based National Museum
of Natural Science.

The plantation, located in Hobi township and inaugurated at the end of
2004, covered 23 hectares in the first stage of its five-stage construction
plan, and is now at the third stage. When all five stages of the plan are
completed, the total area of the plantation will cover some 170 hectares.

The Tainan county government welcomes orchid breeders, growers and traders,
as well as international marketing companies of floral products and related
businesses, to set up offices in the plantation."


Orchid Blog

The Virgin Mary Orchid - Caularthron bicornutum

"the Virgin orchid or the Virgin Mary orchid... Caularthron bicornutum.
... one of almost 200 species of native orchids found in the country... flowers... mainly white.

... there are two virgin orchids, the common one and another smaller species sometimes referred to the Little Virgin orchid. This is not as common as the other and tends to be found patchily on trees distributed inland, even in parts of Port of Spain. The common Virgin Orchid is a species that is found in both Trinidad and Tobago and the species is well known from the Guianas, Venezuela and Colombia.

In both islands its distribution is mainly coastal although the species may be seen in forested areas inland. It is particularly common on the Bocas
islands, Gasparee and Little Centipede, and along much of the north and northeast coasts of Trinidad and the windward coast of Tobago...

It is highly tolerant of windy sea blast conditions and seems equally at home as an epiphytic or terrestrial species... it does not grow in soil or litter but rather on bare rock. Most people will not notice them except when in bloom and only if they happen to be looking up into the branches of trees or on exposed rock faces of cliffs. They are particularly common on the trunks of coconut trees and balata
trees and old plants may consist of dozens of pseudobulbs...

it is not the white sepals and petals that give the name virgin to the species, but that unique orchid structure that is formed of the fusion of the reproductive parts of the flower-the column. This stands projecting from the apex and it takes no imagination to see the characteristic Madonna
figure, as you may see in many a statue in catholic churches and religious art, a tall shrouded figure with the shroud extending over the shoulders.

The flowers are immaculate white, forming a five-pointed star. The lip is white, three-lobed with two raised yellow ridges close to the column and is
freckled with crimson spots or streaks. The flowers appear serially over several weeks on flower stalks that may measure up to about 60 centimetres
in length, and when in peak the stalk may have a dozen or so open flowers. A single plant flowering in its early years may consist of a few
pseudobulbs the year's annual growth producing three of four flower stalks.

... an old plant girdling a balata tree, consisting of perhaps 30 or 40 pseudobulbs each bearing a flower stalk-tipped with a dozen or so of these striking flowers, can be nothing but stunning... my guess is that they only grow to such proportions because there are far too high up for the collectors.

... Depending on the age of the plant more than one new shoots appear from the bases of the old pseudobulbs. But if you examine the bases of the old pseudbulbs you will see a uniform slit in each and if you tap it, it will sound hollow. It is. If you continue tapping it you might see a few
moderately sized ants appear. They live there. And if you continue observing the same plant in late November or early December you will see
that the shoot has become swollen into the characteristic pseudobulb and at the apex you will see the emergence of the new flower stalk and-one or two ants sitting on the emergent stalk. Possibly you might see also a tiny droplet secreted from the flower stalk and even see one ant grasp the tiny sphere in its fierce jaws.

What is the ant doing? Simply collecting a reward for its presence on the growing and tender stalk, warding off any other insects that might fancy
some tasty plant juices. Look at every flower stalk and you will see exactly the same right through the flowering season that runs through to April before a brief rest and a repeat of the cycle with the first rains, every year."


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Orchid Photo Gallery Grand Opening...

"images of orchids...
Howard Gordon...
South Florida...

grand opening of his Orchid Photo Gallery...

He's looking forward to the World Orchid Conference in Miami, where he will
have a display table"

URL :,0,1358200.story?coll=sofla_features_food_xpromo

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

We will be back to blogging after the holiday... Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year from the family!

Steve Peralta
Yenny Badillo
Andrea Molina
Delia Villegas
Rene Hernandez
Jimmy San Paolo

Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Psychopsis papilio - Oncidium Papilio (Psychopsis)

"Psychopsis papilio
... Found... from Trinidad to Venezuela, Colombia and Peru and Bolivia...
flowers... appearing one at a time but intermittently over a long period, often many months...

Light: Morning sun and then shade. Culture: A key to successfully growing this... orchid is excellent drainage and bright light. Aliflor... the expanded clay orchid mix... grow them in clay pots so that the roots can dry readily.

... in the northeast corner of the shadehouse, exposed to full morning sun. The walls of the shadehouse are chainlink, and air flows freely... watered twice a week, drying thoroughly between.

... fertilize weekly in the growing season... the end of April to November. In winter... reduce the frequency of water and fertilizer applications.

Papilios don't like repotting and do well when they are crowded. Only when the pseudobulbs and roots begin to creep over the edge of the pot should
you consider repotting.

The... firm Carter and Holmes Orchids advises removing the plant from its pot, soaking the plant in Superthrive or another root growth stimulant for
a few hours and then allowing it to dry for a couple of weeks before repotting.

... During this period, the plants should be misted on clear, sunny mornings, but not watered otherwise...
This treatment helps initiate new roots.
Water lightly after repotting because the plant is susceptible to fungus and bacteria at this stage, and dryness inhibits disease."


photo :

Steve Peralta

Naples Orchid Society - Cool Site


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Madagascar star orchid and the giant hawk moth of Madagascar

"The Madagascar star orchid produces nectar at the bottom part of its slim, foot-long throat. After observing a specimen, Charles Darwin predicted the
existence of a moth with a proboscis long enough to reach that nectar... decades later the giant hawk moth of Madagascar was discovered and named
Xanthopan morganii praedicta in honor of Darwin's prescience.

As the moth sucks up the nutrient-rich nectar from the orchid, packets of pollen stick to its body. When the moth visits other star orchids to feed
again, the pollen rubs off and pollinates those orchids. The moth gets exclusive access to food and the orchids get a reliable pollinator.

... "Partners in Evolution: Butterflies & Plants" exhibit coming to the National Museum of Natural History in February will explore how animals and
plants evolve in response to one another, a process that biologists call co-evolution...

about 100 million years ago, plants with bowl-shaped flowers emerged with a... food source for moths: nectar...

Bats pollinate more than 300 kinds of plants used by humans; pollination by bees, flies, beetles and other insects is responsible for providing about one-third of the human diet...

The... exhibit will illuminate some of the... dynamics of... co-evolution. For example, in one species of fly, various flowers leave pollen on
different parts of the fly's body?ensuring that different pollens don't mix"


photo :


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Naples Botanical Garden showcasing Vanishing Orchids

"Naples Botanical Garden will showcase a collection of hand-colored
illustrations of endangered flowers, Vanishing Orchids, from Dec. 13
through Feb. 10, 2008.

... pictures in the exhibit will feature 40 seldom-seen species. Many of
the prints will be available for purchase."


Steve Peralta

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stawell Australia Orchid Show Champion

"at the annual Stawell Orchid Show...

cymbidium, Anne Grieve `Daddy Long Legs'... best orchid of the show.
Champion Australian native [!!!] orchid of the show... Sarc Judith Snowball.

... hundreds of orchids... into 25 displays... each display featuring a...
movie theme.
Major award winners of the show:
Grand Champion Orchid... cym, Anne Grieve `Daddy Longlegs';
Reserve Champion Orchid... Odcdm, Tiger Night x Isler Goldregen;
Champion Cymbidium of the Show... Cym, Anne Grieve `Daddy Longlegs';
Champion Australian Native of the Show... sarc, Judith Snowball;
Champion Species of the Show... calanthe restita;
Champion Paphiopedilum of the Show... Indian Ocean x Valwin;
Champion Any Other Genera of the Show... Odcdm, Tiger Night x Isler Goldregen;
Champion Phalaenopsis of the Show... ukimai Pinalong Spring x Hisansu;
Champion Orchid Seedling of the Show... Masd, Latacunga x Sundancer;
Champion Stand Cym of the Show... Anne Grieve `Daddy Longlegs';
Champion Mini Cym of the Show... Miss Muffett;
Champion Novelty Type Cym of the Sho... Valley Crucible `Moulten Glow';
Champion Orchid by an Open Grower... Cym, Anne Grieve `Daddy Longlegs';
Champion Orchid by an Inter Grower... Artictic Impression `Snow Drop';
Champion Orchid by a Novice Grower - Tara Mathews, sarc, Judith Snowball;
Pre-Eminent Exhibit... Zygo, B G White `Houston St';.
Best Zygo in the Show... Zygo, B G White `Houston St';
Best cultivated Standard Cymbidium (min) four spikes in the Show... Cym, Erica Sander;
Best any other colour paph in the Show... Gigi La France."


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Links to Orchid Digest and the Orchid Review,

Orchid Digest: index online in PDF format
( covering the volumes 30 (1966) - 69 (2005).
Now if only someone would make an index for the first 29 volumes andinclude all the pictures in all 71 volumes :-)

Orchid Review: a few years ago a CD was published by the RHS ( containing a subject and author index.

Indices of magazines are not very common unfortunately so if anybody knows of other indices of orchid magazines in electronic format then
please let me/us know.

Luckily there is also "Bibliorchidea" maintained by Rudolf Jenny( butsometimes I would just like to have one index of just "my" books &

Monday, December 03, 2007

Companies in Tainan County's Orchid Plantation making profit

"The 12 companies that have set up shop in Tainan County's Taiwan Orchid Plantation have seen their business turnover growing up to three times
their original investments...

the investments made by these companies in the orchid biotechnology park have totaled NT$200 million... in less than three years, their combined
production value has tripled their investment.
The plantation, located in Hobi township, has developed 23 hectares in the first stage of the plan. When all five stages of the plan are completed,
the total area of the plantation will cover some 170 hectares.

The Tainan county government has indicated that it welcomes orchid breeders, growers and traders, as well as international marketing companies
for floral products and related businesses, to set up offices in the plantation."


Friday, November 30, 2007

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is hosting Orchids the Friendly Addiction

"the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is hosting Orchids, the Friendly Addiction... the annual show and sale presented by the Orchid
Society of Santa Barbara... Saturday or Sunday, December 8 and 9"



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

American Orchid Society volunteers help keep plants blooming in Delray Beach, Florida

"Russell Curtis... cares for orchids.
... volunteers every week at the American Orchid Society's headquarters west of Delray Beach.
His passion for the plants started more than 20 years ago... Now... retired... has 1,000.
Orchid doctors are now available on weekends at the society... The free service had been offered only on weekdays.
They started the weekend program in September, because they are busiest on weekends...
Approximately 25 people call daily for help with their orchids, and from five to 10 show up for a diagnosis...

Volunteers are always available to help visitors but don't have the in-depth knowledge required to be an orchid doctor. Madeline Michalowski... is the other orchid doctor... People call from all over the country and even overseas...
The most common diagnoses are over-watering or parasites...

There are approximately 1,000 society members in South Florida... There are 2,500 members of organizations affiliated with the American
Orchid Society from Miami-Dade to Martin counties, and more than 18,000
society members across the country...

The society sits on 3.5 acres and has two 4,500-square-foot greenhouses. One is open to the public, and the other is a production house for staff
and volunteers. Guests can watch them work in the production greenhouse through windows.
the $60 annual fee gets members get free admission and... Orchids [the magazine].
Membership includes free admission to more than 250 botanical gardens around the country."

URL :,0,2186006.story?track=rss

Steve Peralta

Monday, November 26, 2007

American Orchid Society Botanical Garden

"The American Orchid Society... its Botanical Garden...
A 5-acre, $8 million international headquarters for the American Orchid
Society, featuring a 20,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style building, two
4,000-sq.-ft. greenhouses, and 3?-acre botanical garden showcasing a
variety of orchids from around the world...

The garden features:
Vaughn Focus Garden ? Dedicated to the Vaughn family, who shared its home
in West Palm Beach with the AOS for 16 years before the organization moved
to Delray Beach. The Focus Garden features a reflecting pool and the first
orchid collected by Lewis Vaughn, transplanted from his estate.
AOS? Greenhouse ? The public display house has a formal staging area for...
orchid displays. The private production greenhouse is visible through large
display windows and houses the Society?s main orchid collections and is
used for production and conservation.

Two Water Falls ? The smaller of the two was donated by the Fort Lauderdale
Orchid Society; the second is a 14-foot cascading waterfall that forms the
backdrop for a small pond and wooden bridge.

The Cork Tree ? This 13-foot display tree was ?grown? in six months. It was
constructed by fitting and securing PVC piping, concrete, wires and screws
together. It was then topped off with more than 600 lbs. of cork... The
tree is covered with flowering orchids... demonstrating how these plants
grow in their native habitat.
AOS? Future ? The AOS is seeking donations to fund an American Heritage
Collection of orchids. This permanent collection of historical plants
provided the breeding stock for modern-day American-grown and -produced
orchids. This collection will be available to students of orchid
hybridization for study and research both in person at the AOS
headquarters, as well as online.
The AOS facility and gardens... Admissions are... free for... AOS members."


THE Sapphire Coast Orchid Club Australian Native

"THE Sapphire Coast Orchid Club presented its annual Australian Native
Orchid Show at Twyford Hall, Merimbula, recently visitors were treated to a
display of the infrequently seen Sarcochilus orchids.

These Australian gems are becoming more and more popular as selective
breeding increases their flower size and colour range.

Many well grown specimens were on display... flowers of pure white, white
with red centres, all shades of pink, red and... yellow.
Shirley Bedingfield...
Her... Sarcochilus Heidi x Jewel Dungog, carrying... crystalline white
flowers with red centres, was awarded Grand Champion of the show, as well
as Champion Sarcanthinae Hybrid.

Her Sarcochilus Fitzhart 'Red' gained Champion Sarcanthinae Specimen and
her white Sarcochilus hartmannii 'My Joy' was awarded Champion Sarcanthinae

Champion Any Other Orchid was awarded to... Joy Richardson for...
dendrombium Malones Victory.

Champion Novice was won by Tathra growers Graham and Adrianne Dempster
for... Potinara Love Call 'Lai'."


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We will be back Monday, November 26!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Orchid Swallow Tail Butterflies

"You may also like to try orchid plants for attracting Orchid Swallow Tail Butterflies"
Steve Peralta

Rare Disa hallackiee found in the West Cape of Africa

"endangered Disa hallackii, which was last seen growing in the Robberg Nature Reserve near Plettenberg Bay, was spotted growing in a previously burnt-out area by a CapeNature ranger...

Eben Louwrens, a ranger on the Robberg and Keurbooms River nature reserves, had discovered the flower while doing regular maintenance work.

Louwrens's discovery follows the finding of another rare orchid, Acrolophia barbat[a]... by members of the Custodians of Rare and Endangered
Wildflowers group.

The Acrolophia barbat[a] was found near Nature's Valley on the Garden Route.

Annelise Vlok, regional ecologist in the Gouritz area, said the Disa hallackii was considered "one of the most threatened orchid species in South Africa"

Steve Peralta

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Man Uses Cave to Grow Orchids

"David Bird's underground cave in Kansas City.
6,000-square-foot cave... called Bird's Botanicals...
cool- and hot-growing rooms filled with about 4,000 orchids...
limestone walls... covered in reflective aluminum panels.
To get the climate and high-pressured sodium lighting just right took
almost half a year of experimentation.
Bird worked with orchids at the Denver Botanical Garden and worked his way
up into managing the orchid greenhouse. He later earned his bachelor's in
horticulture at North Dakota State University.

He started his career at the International Peace Garden on the U.S.-Canada
border, then went on to the Des Moines Botanical Center and eventually
Powell Gardens, just outside Kansas City. At Powell he started an orchid
exhibit that's still an annual event.

Meanwhile Bird grew orchids in a 400-square-foot greenhouse at his Blue
Springs home...
He learned about the cave storage and thought it could work similar to a
grow-light room in a basement.
The Mid-America Orchid Congress... 58 member societies from the U.S. and
Canada, will... meet. Kansas City last hosted the congress in 1994...

a lecture series with orchid experts such as Tom Mirenda, museum specialist
for the orchid collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington."

URL / links to photos :

Steve Peralta

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Garden Club focuses on orchids

Orchids and other unusual plants were the topics of discussion yesterday among members of the Freeport Garden Club at their regular monthly meeting where they heard from a special guest speaker from New Prov-idence who wowed them with her vast knowledge of the unusual plants.

Marina Greaves, a member of both the Horticultural Society as well as the Orchid Society, travelled along with her specimens of plants from Nassau to Grand Bahama to address the Club.

"I love gardening. I am such a gardener that I am into everything. I have no real specialty, but I love orchids. If I go anywhere and I see something new that I like, I say, 'I have got to have that,'" she said.

In her address, Greaves shared some tips to Club members that she has learned in her years of gardening.

She presented useful information on finding, growing and maintaining various species of the orchid plant.

She also showcased some of the plants that she brought, highlighting some of the special features of those plants.

"We are all in some sense non-gardeners. But you learn something from everybody that is in gardening. We never ever know it all," she said.

"But for the person who is just starting, if you look around your environs, it is often an indication of what should do well in the particular area that you live."

Greaves encouraged persons to drive around their neighbourhoods and find certain plants that they like.

"Enquire about it because if it is doing well here, there is a great chance that you can grow it as well," she said.

Noting that there are many different species of orchids, Greaves said that one must be careful when choosing them since they do not always adapt to every environment.

"There are so many different types of orchids and there are also a lot of native orchids that are becoming very, very popular," she said.

"In fact, there are 33 species in Andros, but the hybrid ones that are grown elsewhere, you now have to have some special knowledge of how to grow those. They require special care and you can differentiate among the type of orchids and the type of care they require."

Greaves said she enjoys gardening because of the therapeutic experience it offers and also the end result of the blooming plants.

Averaging that she spends about 5 - 6 hours a day in her garden, Graves jokingly said she often gets so caught up in gardening that she sometimes forgets her housework.

"I enjoy the surprises that gardening brings. The joy is that the brown thumb that you have can become green by just starting to garden."

ORCHID LESSON — Marina Greaves of the Horticultural Society and Orchid Society from New Providence is pictured with David Long addressing members of the Freeport Garden Club during their monthly meeting at the Rand Nature Centre. (Photo by JENNEVA RUSSELL)

Thursday, November 15, 2007


The Momet Moisture Meter

"Jerry Fischer, owner of Plymouth-based Orchids Limited, developed the Momet moisture meter...

Fischer and one of his customers, electronic product developer Michael Pletman, spent two years developing the Momet.
Publish Post
a switch in the back... indicates the potting medium... insert the prongs of the meter into the medium. In a few seconds, one of the three small lights on the front of the unit will indicate if the medium is wet (green light), approaching dry (yellow light) or dry (red light).

The unit... comes with basic information about what types of orchids like their roots wetter or drier, and how to handle plants in spike or bloom.

The Momet... is available online at and at several local garden centers"


Steve Peralta

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ball State University's own tropical treasures - Orchids

"Ball State University... on campus for 27 years, the Wheeler Orchid Collection... is comprised of
approximately 1,200 plants... the greenhouse... is open to all visitors...

The orchid greenhouse serves as a repository for species orchids...
focus is species conservation"


Steve Peralta

Monday, November 12, 2007

Northeast Pennsylvania Orchid Society...

"Troy Prutzman...
26, has accumulated more than 450 orchids...

the Northeast Pennsylvania Orchid Society...
Members ranging from college students to retired people and professional growers... from across the local region. The NEPOS... started in 1987... is the only orchid society in Northeast

Richard and Jan Jost are the owners of Jungle Paradise in Benton, a greenhouse specializing in orchids"


photo : [caption : "Officers of the Northeast Pennsylvania Orchid Society,
not in order, are Jack Buziuk, vice president, Alan Fenwick, president, Jan
Jost, secretary, and Joyce Jenkins, treasurer, as they conduct the monthly
meeting... at the Pittston Township Volunteer Fire Department ? Suscon

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Encyclia kingsii orchid

Encyclia kingsii was believed to be endemic to Little Cayman... Carla Reid discovered Encyclia kingsii growing wild in an undisclosed
location in Grand Cayman.

Encyclia kingsii... grows on trees in dry rocky woodland areas and produces... yellowish-brown flowers.

Encyclia kingsii is... close to extinction in the wild and its discovery in Grand Cayman highlights the need to conserve natural areas as many of the
Cayman Islands' most rare and unique plants are on the brink of extinction. Mrs Reid... is a member of the Cayman Islands Orchid Society"


photo :

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Phragmipedium kovachii

"If customers decide to sell their legal Phragmipedium kovachii seedlings within North America, it would be prudent for them to supply
each purchaser with a photocopy of their own legal certificate, write the name of purchaser and number of seedlings purchased on that photocopy and and sign it. This way the new owners have proof that
their Phragmipedium kovachii was obtained legally, just in case some authorty should question it."

This would indeed be prudent, because the authorities are indeed preparing to act. Page 265 of the current (Sept-Oct 2007) edition of The Orchid Review contains the following warning:

"it is common knowledge that in addition to INRENA certified P. kovachii plants, many others have been removed illegally from the wild
and smuggled abroad. Some growers in possession of uncertified material are said to be growing second generation P. kovachii hybrids.
As a result the RHS, as International Cultivar Registration Authority for Orchid Hybrids, has decided that all future applications to
register hybrids involving P. kovachii must be accompanied by copies of the appropriate CITES and INRENA documentation".

Peter O'Byrne

The Fairy Orchid

Calypso bulbosa... a terrestrial orchid from North America, Europe and Asia. Naturally found in the Western U.S. and along the northern states, it is
also commonly seen in Sweden and Finland.

The genus Calypso is named for the... sea nymph in Homer's Odyssey...

The fairy orchid [Calypso bulbosa] has a single, pleated, oblong-shapedleaf that grows from a corm.
It also has a single flower on a slender stalk.
The flowers... are pinkish purple with light pink in a "crown formation" on top of flower.
A pale slipper cup has markings of dark purple stripes on inside of slipper. The center of the slipper is lemon yellow with tiny yellow hairs.
Generally blooming takes place in May or June.
Fairy orchids usually reach heights of about 3-6 inches.

Although the fairy orchid's distribution is wide, it is very susceptible to disturbance, and is therefore classified as threatened or endangered.
Picking the flower often destroys not only the flower but the entire plant. The bulbs were once used as a food source by North American Indians, though this is not recommended now because the sites for these plants are now rare and easily destroyed.

As sensitive as this plant is known to be, given the right germination conditions, it is... adaptable...
The plants require a location in full shade such as beneath trees. Its natural habitat is in thick, wet, mossy areas of woodlands, especially
near creek beds and rivers. The fairy orchid enjoys rich, moist soil that has been enriched with leaf
mold or bark chips. In frost-prone areas, the fairy orchid should only be grown in a cold shaded greenhouse, while in warmer regions plants can be naturalized in the woodland or bog garden.

As the flowers fade, divide corms very carefully to propagate, usually in fall. The fairy orchid produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season.
If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be
treated as being dormant, while the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers.

Make sure that you keep plenty of soil with each plant. It is also said to be possible to transplant orchids after they have flowered but while they
are still in leaf.

There are two varieties common to the U.S., var. americana and var. occidentalis, which may be available for purchase through suitable growers.

Slugs and snails love devouring the fairy orchid so this should be taken into consideration when growing them."

From Bella Online

Steve Peralta

The Orchid Grower - A Juvenile Forensic Science Adventure Novel

The Orchid Grower
A Juvenile Forensic Science Adventure Novel
by Julian T. Rubin
Zumaya Publications

Buy the book here:

Taiwan's annual flower exports hit US$100 million

Taiwan's flower exports are expected to hit US$100 million this year, eight times the figure posted a decade ago, according to statistics
compiled by the Taiwan Flower Export Association.

... Taiwan-grown butterfly orchids and oncidium flowers have been... popular as premier species in international flower market.

... butterfly orchids usually sell for US$100 [really ?] per plant in Washington, D.C., and the corresponding price even hit a high of US$300 in
Hollywood... major flower export markets include Europe, the U.S. and Japan...

Butterfly orchids have long enjoyed very good prices in Europe and the U.S., due mainly to their... looks and long duration of around three
months. They usually enjoy brisk sales in the Netherlands, the U.S., Denmark and Germany...
Formosa Orchid Farm in the Netherlands... has managed to record a 30 percent annual sales growth due to the emerging of Taiwan's butterfly orchids.

Sogo Team Co., Ltd. ... turns out over 10 million orchid plants, and exports... mainly to Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany,
posting a robust annual sales growth of over 40 percent.

... Ox Orchids Farm, established in 1979... phalaenopsis orchid breeding, seedling production, flower cultivation farm in southern Taiwan.

The total phalaenopsis orchid plantation acreage, located in An-Nan, Pei-Man, Madou and Taiwan Orchid Plantation (TOP) at Tainan County, ranges
approximately 50,000m2 (12.36 acre), which includes 23,000m2... automatic environment control greenhouses, low temperature blooming control systems, and tissue culture laboratory with... advanced biotechnology for year-round

This year (2007), OX ORCHIDS FARM is scheduled to build another 13,000 m2
fully automatic green houses in the second development stage of Taiwan Orchid Plantation for phalaenopsis orchid production. A branch office and farm of OX Orchids Farm is also scheduled to open at the end of this year at Maryland, United States.

Ox Orchids Farm supplies 3,000,000 phalaenopsis tissue cultured plants in flasks, 800,000 small and medium size plants, and 300,000 blooming
plants... annually... throughout the world in 2006

URL :'s-annual.htm

Steve Peralta

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How to Care for Cymbidiums Video

General Orchid Care Video - Enjoy!!

Orchid Care for Winter

International Flavors & Fragrances Aromatic Orchids

"Subha Patel...

the orchid...
At different times of the day, it will give you a different smell...

Patel, director of nature-inspired fragrance technology for International Flavors & Fragrances...
oversees the world's largest collection of aromatic orchids, among other plants, at IFF's Botanical Gardens in Union Beach... she tries to capture
their essence to create the next great aroma.

The New York company creates flavors for soda, candy, soup and toothpaste, and fragrances for soap, detergent, women's perfume and men's cologne...

Five customers, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Colgate, Pepsi and Este Lauder, represent 31 percent of IFF's $2 billion in revenue...

Some scents can be re-created when perfumers use air samples from a flower. Fragrances made in that way include... Wonderful by Beauty Bank, an Est?e
Lauder brand, which uses the scent of a Mackayi orchid.

Patel... An organic chemist... grew up on a coffee plantation in Nairobi, Kenya"


Steve Peralta

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

University of Hawaii extension promotes orchid cultivation

"University of Hawaii extension agent Glenn Teves... shared his expertise with nearly 70 Molokai... aficionados... to help promote orchid cultivation as a potential industry on Molokai...

"Probably the most important thing you need to know about orchid care is sanitation," Teves said at the outset... If you don't sanitize the tools you use when you work with orchids, he said, you risk spreading viruses among... a mix of Clorox and water works just fine [really ?].

... Sunburn, he told the audience, is a problem on Molokai. There's a fine line, he said, between the amount of sun that makes the plant flower
profusely and that which causes sunburn to its leaves."


Steve Peralta

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Orchids and Rats!

None of... many books about growing orchids list rodents as a pest... dendrobium keiki...
had been devoured... What little was left of the leaves had been shredded into wispy little
threads. One of the small stems was broken off and gone....found the telltale rodent droppings... more in line with a mouse than a rat... next step is to set some traps and see... Is a little peanut butter, or
maybe some cheese, more appealing that[n]... orchid plants?"

URL :,0,2900052.column?coll=sofla_features_home_xpromo

Steve Peralta

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Orchid Queen Beverly Tall of the Desert Valley Orchid Society...

"Bev Tall of Fountain Hills... 20-year orchid growing... with a custom greenhouse…orchid judge for the past 12 years.

Her enclosed glass-roofed greenhouse, built six feet underground, is three levels deep...
One descends to its depths via a sturdy network of stained-wood stairs arrayed with plants perched on ledges, shelves and steps, and hanging everywhere from hooks.
In the spacious main room of the greenhouse, a network of pipes overhead and throughout the room serve as the misters and heaters...

she says... "we don't want to be tied to the orchids... It's self-contained, so it can take care of itself for several weeks at a time."

On one end is a rocky formation with a waterfall... the water is part of the humidity control, and the small pool contains Koi fish which will eat
some of the unwanted bugs attracted by the orchids.

... the main blooming season is winter and spring...
"This is a hobby," she says, overlooking her tropical haven of more than 2,000 plants [smile...].
"As a judge I feel that I have to grow a lot of different (species) so that I understand how they grow and what a good one looks like so that I can
judge them properly," she says, "because you have to be able to judge all different kinds, not just one kind."

It takes seven years to become a judge, and Tall says it is like getting a Master's or a Ph.D.
"You have to do talks and papers and tests, and go to a lot of different (judged shows) to learn," she says.
"... it's not just a simple, 'read this book and you become a judge.' It's a lot of experience and a lot of practical application and a lot of studying to learn about all [!!!] the orchids."

Tall judges orchids in shows not just in the states but all over the world. She has been to London, the Rio and Ecuador to judge shows, and the last
World Orchid Contest was in France.

This past spring she enjoyed a jaunt to Taiwan to judge....
"I don't do this for commercial (purposes)," she says of her orchid growing and judging. "I just do it because I like it and I meet a lot of interesting people. It's an international community because you have people from all over the world judging..."
"There are 15 orchids native to Arizona," she says. "... Most of them grow in the White Mountains, though, because of the heat here, and those are
terrestrial plants..."
Tall and her husband, Wayne, retired to Fountain Hills eight years ago but have lived in Arizona almost 30 years.
"We built this house for a retirement home after our three sons grew up and
moved out, and designed it especially to have the greenhouse," she says....

Tall is a member of the Desert Valley Orchid Society, which meets in
Scottsdale, and she is pleased that there are a handful of orchid
enthusiasts from Fountain Hills who are also members.

She does lectures at meetings for the Valley Orchid Society, as well as for other orchid clubs in the U.S.

She also is on the board of directors for the Orchid Digest... and on the education committee for the American Orchid Society, and has written several magazine articles for Orchid Digest and for the American Orchid Society magazine.
Fun Orchid Facts Orchids evolved 40 to 80 million years ago from a lily-like relative...
The first man-made orchid was cultivated in 1856.
Orchids are the largest family of the flowering plant kingdom.
In Hawaii... eating the blossoms is said to insure return to the Islands...

In New Guinea, the male Crestless Gardener Bowerbirds keep fresh blossoms
at the entrance to their bowers to impress and win the females of their
species." [some men do it too / smile..]



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

San Diego International Orchid Fair - Quail Botanical Gardens

" the San Diego International Orchid Fair... at Quail Botanical gardens in Encinitas.
Last year more than 3,500 paying visitors attended the show...

More than 25 species of orchid are indigenous to California. A half dozen are native to San Diego County, including a few found along the river in
Mission Valley"


Steve Peralta

Gray's Manual of Botany, 8th Edition by M. L. Fernald

"Gray's Manual of Botany, 8th Edition... by M. L. Fernald... the "Botanical Bible"... lists 21 genera of the orchid family as growing wild in northeastern North America.

Among these there are about 50 species, varieties and forms known to be growing within the limits of the state of Wisconsin... at least 10 in La
Crosse County... two more in Monroe County. And, at least three of these have been seen growing along the La Crosse River Trail.
some orchids... are in bloom right now.

... some of our northern "terrestrial" members of the family are pretty spectacular. One genus of our group... is stuck with having small flowers
that just happen to be all white...

The genus... spiranthes, synthesized from a couple Greek words to indicate "spiral flowered." Its florets are often arranged around a vertical stem in
a spiral formation... Ladies' tresses is the English rendition of thename...
One such can be seen in thin woods in some areas during July.

This tribe of orchids seems to be very much at home amid the grasses that can be found under trees in thin, dry woods or near trees growing in the

our area... two species from this genus: nodding and slender ladies' tresses. A form that didn't fit the nodding description... was split out... and given the name Great Plains ladies' tresses"


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Orchid Artist Gregory Raymond...

32... artist...

his latest series of miniatures... "Orchids," 20 pieces in watercolor onpaper, recently in West Gallery ... Mandaluyong City.

Limning numerous orchid varieties... Halili compacts in these pieces arange of colors... and a variety of patterns...

He never... depicts the entire flower but focuses on its labial form...Each piece is composed in an oval on creamy paper then dusted with metallic

Halili's... fascination with orchids... "The orchid is the flower most closely associated with humans, particularly the female genitalia..."

A Fine Arts graduate from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Halili has exhibited his works in New York, Philadelphia, Ohio, Arkansas,
Florida, Wisconsin, Washington, DC. In the Philippines, aside from West Gallery, he has shown in the Jorge Vargas Museum of the University of the Philippines."


images :

Steve Peralta

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wild Orchids of Wellington, New Zealand - New Book

native orchid book. Acknowledging the Wellington region as one of New Zealand's "orchid hotspots", the Department of Conservation has produced a
field guide identifying 72 species of wild orchids in the lower North Island...

The book was launched on September 4...
"We want to inspire people to head out and explore the region's parks and reserves while searching for orchids that, once found, can be left for others to enjoy," said Department of Conservation [DOC] botanist John Sawyer, who co-authored the book with Peter de Lange, one of New Zealand's
leading plant conservation scientists; photographer and botanist Jeremy Rolfe, and national orchid expert Ian St George.

"DOC is interested in orchids because, while much of the global interest is in the cultivation of exotic forms and varieties, there is also the most
important work of protecting wild populations, Mr Sawyer said. "Wetlands, dunes and forests continue to be degraded through development, drainage and
the effects of exotic animals and weeds so the need to protect wild orchids becomes ever more pressing," he said.

Mr Sawyer said Wellington was a hotspot for orchids because of its huge diversity of habitat types and ecosystems, ranging from the dry eastern
Wairarapa terrain, to sub-alpine areas and wetlands, estuaries, and the coast. "More than 70 percent of New Zealand's orchids occur in Wellington...

"We encourage the public to keep an eye out for wild orchids and let us know if they see anyone removing plants from the wild," Mr Sawyer
said... DOC is working with landowners, councils, iwi and community groups to protect nationally threatened orchids at key sites."


photo : [caption : A decade in the making, Wild

Steve Peralta

Prasophyllum affine - Jervis Bay leek Orchid endangered

The developer behind a new shopping centre and 604-lot housing development for Vincentia, on the New South Wales south coast, has met...
representatives at Jervis Bay.

The approval for the Stockland development this year was granted, after residents raised concerns about the impact of the development on endangered
species, including the Jervis Bay leek orchid [Prasophyllum affine]

A number of groups, including the Vincentia Ratepayer and Residents Association, met the developer on site...

Shoalhaven Mayor Greg Watson... says Stockland has already begun work to protect the orchid.
"Stockland actually proved themselves to be fairly environmentally sensitive during the clearing works," he said. "They discovered a patch of endangered orchids so they contacted the local
orchid expert [name ?] and with his assistance and advice, the orchids were
relocated." "


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two rare species of orchids discovered in Nui Chua National Park

Nui Chua National Park in the southern province of Ninh Thuan...

scientists... discovered two rare species of orchids in the park...
Bromheadia annamensis and Panisea vinhii, were discovered by experts of the Institute for Ecology and Flora Resources of Vietnam and the Misurin[Missouri !] Botanical Garden of the US.

... these species... found in Vietnam for the first time. The park has designed a plan to protect the... orchids.

Nui Chua National Park is located in Vinh Hai commune, Ninh Hai district of Ninh Thuan province. It has a total area of nearly 30,000ha. This forest has a typical dry ecosystem of Southeast Asia, with 1,265 floral and 306 fauna species"


Monday, September 10, 2007

Jim Jordan - New Chief Operating Officer of AOS

"Florida-born Jim Jordan...
recently moved to Delray Beach to become the chief operating officer of the American Orchid Society. Previously, he was a principal of Franklin
Consulting & Training in Michigan, developing business plans for professional florists... Prior to that, Jordan was executive vice president of the FTD Association...

He plans to use many of the same strategies and tactics that made FTD the brand it is... as he develops the business plan for orchid society.
He... plans to shine a spotlight on the society's dedication to environmental and botanical conservation, and research.

He learned of the orchid society position through a colleague in Washington who urged him to apply.

The [AOS]... was founded more than 85 years ago by... growers from the Northeast. It was housed at Harvard University for nearly 60 years.

In 1984, the society moved to West Palm Beach to a 6-acre estate owned by former society President Lewis Vaughn. The organization broke ground on its new headquarters in Delray Beach in September 1999.

With nearly 18,000 members around the world, the society is recognized as the international leader in orchid education, research, and conservation."


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cuba's Oldest Botanical Garden

Cienfuegos Botanical Garden...

Cuba's oldest botanical garden, founded in 1901 at south central Cienfuegos province, owns 400 breeds of orchids.
Cuba owns 49 endemic orchids, plus curiosities like leafless Afilas [???], and others that rank among the world's tiniest orchids..

Cienfuegos Botanical Garden, founded as a sugar cane study station"


Thursday, September 06, 2007

OrchidWiz Encyclopedia Software released...

Encyclopedia 4.0...
orchid database software from OrchidWiz...

the number of orchid images available... nearly 20,500...detailed taxonomic and cultivation data for thousands of orchid species.
orchid species cultivation data sourced from the work of Charles Baker...tabs for humidity, water, the AOS bulletins and AOS magazines by author or title. list orchids from a certain area... or list... orchids of a certain genera
that are cool growing, or by other characteristics.
... compare images of the four top species in the background of a hybrid...

OrchidWiz... is a software company based in Miami Shores, Florida... OrchidWiz Encyclopedia software is used... in 33 countries. Over 200
American Orchid Society judges and more than 150 orchid nurseries currentlyuse OrchidWiz...

Web Site: "


Monday, September 03, 2007

Tiffany Orchid Pins

"the 1889 Paris Exposition... Tiffany orchid pin...

a 1994 Wall Street Journal article mentioning the Tiffany orchid pins...

In 1889, Tiffany produced 25 Orchid brooches for the Paris Exposition. There, the company won the gold medal for jewelry, largely due to the pins,
which were exact duplicates of a natural orchid...

Produced as a limited edition, the Expo brooches disappeared into private collections... Several of the originals are in the permanent Tiffany & Co. collection.

In 1993, an orchid brooch from the Expo sold at Sotheby's for a record $415,000.

Measuring about 2 inches by 1-1/2 inches"



Steve Peralta

Friday, August 31, 2007

Platanthera yosemitensis Orchid found again

Platanthera yosemitensis, the Yosemite bog orchid... slender spike of quarter-inch-long greenish-yellow flowers... it has a smell only a true orchidophile could love (or pollinator !!!). U.S. Geological Survey botanist Alison Colwell... rediscovered it... "Some people just wrinkle
their nose, shake their head and walk away," Colwell says.

So why did this obscure wildflower generate national headlines earlier this summer? Well, it's not often that a new species of orchid is described from North America - especially from a location as well known as Yosemite
National Park.

P. yosemitensis has been found and lost and found again. It was discovered in 1923 by the... plant collector George Henry Grinnell. His specimens wound up at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont (Los Angeles
County), where Ron Coleman found them in 1993, while researching his book, "The Wild Orchids of California." Coleman drove to Yosemite that same day and found the orchid in bloom. He sent a sample of the flowers to orchid
taxonomist Charles Sheviak at the New York State Museum in Albany, who identified the plant as P. purpurascens, previously known only from the southern Rockies.

Ten years later, Colwell was preparing for a transfer to the Sierra when she got a call from fellow orchid enthusiast Dean Taylor. The orchid volume in the "Flora of North America" series had just come out, and Taylor had
spotted the anomalous-looking range map for P. purpurascens: a blob in the Four Corners country and a dot in Yosemite. "Look at that!" Taylor told Colwell. "That's not right! You have to find this orchid."

Colwell was assigned to a National Parks Inventory and Monitoring program to survey native plants. "One day my survey partner, Charlotte Coulter, and I were in a very remote wet meadow, something only bears would usually
visit. I started smelling this musky odor. The light was a certain way. I saw these stalks of tiny yellow flowers, bent down to smell them, and said, 'Oh, this is the rare orchid Dean told me to watch out for.' " She ruled out Yosemite's other bog orchids by color (one had white flowers, one had
green) and by the shape of the nectar spur: They had long, narrow spurs to accommodate long-tongued moths and butterflies. But the yellow-flowered orchid had a short, saclike spur - "scrotiform," in botanical terminology.
"It's yellow, smells bad, has a short spur. This must be it," she concluded.

Expanding the search, Colwell and her USGS colleague Peggy Moore found eight more sites for the new orchid. They sent complete specimens to Sheviak in New York and brought him out to see it... Sheviak had suspected
that the plant might be a hybrid. "But when he saw it in the field," Colwell recalls, "he said, 'Oh, no, this is completely different.' "
The species, so far known to be found only in Yosemite, was formally
described this summer in the botanical journal Madro?o, in an article co-authored by Colwell, Sheviak and Moore.

No one will say exactly where the nine locations are; the Yosemite bog orchid is in a botanical witness-protection program. Moore gives its range as "between the main stem and South Fork of the Merced River in the southern part of the park." Botanists are concerned not so much with orchid
poachers as with the impact of visitors. "Its root system is sensitive to breakage, and the ground in the bogs is soft and easily compacted," Moore says. "We're asking people not to seek it out." Lisa Acree, the park's lead botanist, says no one has reported finding it on his own so far.

Apart from its blooming time (between June and August, depending on the snowpack), little is known about the species. Its smell suggests pollination by flies or mosquitoes, but none have been caught in the act.
Genetic studies to determine its closest relatives are pending. Botanists do know that the meadows where it grows are an ancient environment that escaped the last glacial surge - about 10,000 years ago - and may have been ice-free for even longer than that. The orchid's future is uncertain: "We'd have concerns that a species of such limited distribution could decline with changes in moisture, temperature or both," Moore says.

To Colwell, the trail that led to her discovery highlights the importance of plant specimen collections. "We like to think of explorers stumbling on something new in a remote region and having this 'Aha!' moment," she says. "But it's more common for scientists to realize they have a new species on their hands when they're examining dried specimens in herbaria. Universities are getting more molecular biology oriented and not maintaining herbaria." Stanford's has been closed, its collection now with the California Academy of Sciences. "


Steve Peralta

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Orchid Malaxis calophylla found in Vietnam

never before found in Viet Nam...
found by biologists working for Wildlife At Risk (WAR) on Phu Quoc Island.

Malaxis calophylla (Ai lan la dep) and Aphyllorchis montana (Am lan nui)
were... found in July during WAR's latest botanical survey.

Malaxis calophylla... recorded for the first time in Viet Nam....

Only one single specimen of each plant was recorded and both species
urgently require protection, according to WAR.
The WAR-sponsored surveys on Phu Quoc Island are... part of a larger
conservation programme begun in early 2007, in collaboration with Phu Quoc
National Park, which aims to protect the island's rich natural resources...

During an earlier survey in May this year... Paphiopedilum callosum, was
recorded in Phu Quoc National Park, another first for the island."


Steve Peralta

Monday, August 27, 2007

Corallorhiza maculata

In the Rocky Mountains, spotted coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata, is most
commonly found in stands of ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine. In eastern
deciduous forests, it is associated with beech trees, and in California and
Oregon it grows beneath oaks.

It is a perennial plant with stems one to two feet tall, bearing eight to
20 flowers. Leaves... narrow, transparent sheaths that cling to the stems.
Stems are purple to reddish-brown, and the small... flowers have white
petals with fuchsia spots. Some populations have albino plants, with yellow
stems and unspotted flowers.

Spotted coralroot... lack of leaves, it has no roots, and it lacks
functional chloroplasts, so it cannot photosynthesize. Instead of roots, it
has a fleshy, branched rhizome that looks like a soft coral ? hence the
common name coralroot.
Ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine have mutually beneficial associations
with ectomycorrhizal fungi that grow on their roots. Spotted coralroot
grows beneath ponderosa pine and steals sugars from the tree that shades it.

Ectomycorrhizal fungi serve as extensions to the root system, greatly
enhancing the tree's access to water, nitrogen and nutrients that do not
diffuse well, such as various forms of phosphate.... the fungus takes
sugars from the roots of the pine. Sugars are produced in the crown of the
tree by photosynthesis, and are transported to the root system for storage.

Ectomycorrhizal fungi and pines depend on one another. The fungi obtain all
of the photosynthetic products food from pine roots, and if they are
separated from the roots they wither. Pines grow poorly if they are
deprived of ectomycorrhizal fungi and are much more susceptible to drought.

Spotted coralroot taps into the mutualism between fungus and pine. The
orchid's fleshy rhizome attaches to the fungus, and it extracts water,
nutrients and sugars. Water and nutrients are taken directly from the
fungus, but the orchid uses the fungus as a bridge to take sugars from the
pine. This is a parasitic relationship, for neither the fungus nor the tree
derives any benefit from the orchid.

Ponderosa pine is host to many species of ectomycorrhizal fungi, but
spotted coralroot parasitizes a small number of fungal species, and the
species parasitized vary among environments. For example, coralroot uses
one set of fungi in oak forests, and a different set of fungi in ponderosa
forests. Similarly, coralroot uses one set of fungal species at high
elevations and a completely different set at low elevations.

... Reddish-brown and albino coralroots grow intermixed in a population,
but these two forms parasitize different fungal species."


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Orchids and Sex

"a... native orchid trying to outwit a randy male wasp...

Anne Gaskett, a PhD student from Macquarie University in Sydney...
uses advanced colour technology... to understand how five species of native
tongue orchids trick a male wasp into believing he has found a sexual partner.

She says the findings will help to develop environmentally sensitive pest
controls and conserve orchid species.

Ms Gaskett looked at the orchid dupe wasp (Lissopimpla excelsa). And she
says as far as the male is concerned, tongue orchids have "curves in all
the right places".

But the wasp is fooled for only so long.
Her research found that even after just a few exposures to the orchid the
wasp avoids trying to have sex with it.

Ms Gaskett from the Department of Biological Sciences says the orchid must
then enhance its mimicry of the female wasp to continue to attract the male
wasp and pollinate.
"This means only the most persuasive orchids will continue to reproduce,"
she says.
Orchids are the only plant whose flowers trick insects using such sexual
deception. The aim is to convince the insect to 'mate' with them. The
insect accidentally collects pollen on its body, which is then transported
to another flower.

Ms Gaskett says the orchid dupe wasp is attracted to and pollinates five
species of tongue orchid in the genus Cryptostylis.
This is unusual as normally one insect pollinates one species of orchid.
She says this means the five orchid species, which look completely
different to the human eye, must look and feel the same to the male wasp.
Ms Gaskett used a spectrometer to analyse the colours of four of the five
species and a female wasp.
Taking into account factors including the background colour, ambient light
and colour range of the male wasp's receptors, she found the orchid
replicates almost exactly the colours of the female orchid dupe wasp.

She has also found 'hidden shapes' that feel like a female wasp to the
male, including 'love handles' the male wasp grip onto while mating.
Ms Gaskett...
is now studying the perfume of the orchids and testing them on wasp
antennae to look at the role of smell in the seduction process."


Orchids are admired by humans and insects alike, but according to Macquarie University research, one Australian wasp is so enthralled by ‘Orchid Fever' that actually he ejaculates while pollinating orchid flowers.

Australian Tongue orchids lure male insects with counterfeit sex signals that mimic those produced by female insects. Hapless male Orchid Dupe wasps (Lissopimpla excelsa) can't resist mating with the orchid flowers and accidentally become pollen couriers. Until recently, this trick was not thought to harm the reluctant insect Romeos, but biologists Anne Gaskett, Claire Winnick, and Marie Herberstein from Macquarie University, have discovered that the male wasps visiting Tongue orchids waste thousands of sperm on the flowers. "If males waste all their sperm on orchids, what have they got to offer a real female?" asks Gaskett, a PhD student whose research paper on the study was published on Friday in American Naturalist (volume 171, June). "These pollinator species could suffer considerable reproductive costs if orchids inhibit mating opportunities." To investigate this issue the researchers performed a worldwide survey of about 200 insects that are fooled into mating with orchids. Interestingly they found that more than 90 per cent of these duped pollinators were from species with a haplodiploid mating system. Extraordinarily, females from haplodiploid species such as wasps, bees and ants can actually produce offspring without sperm from males.

"Even without mating these females can still reproduce, however all the offspring will be male," says Gaskett. "These consequent extra male wasps could be important pollinators for orchids, and as long as some normal sexual reproduction still occurs, the cost of orchid deception can be mitigated." "Despite the extreme demands they place on their pollinators, Tongue orchids are incredibly successful and have the highest pollination rate ever discovered in a sexually deceptive orchid. And while it's not widely known, Australian orchids are actually global leaders in sexual deception."

Orchids, gorgeous and elegant, are also some of the most deceitful flowers, having evolved sometimes elaborate ruses to lure pollinators.
Orchid Sexual Deceit Provokes Ejaculation (The American Naturalist)
In a new study of the most brazen of these botanical cheats, the species that entice pollinators with false promises of sex, scientists have discovered that one group of orchids has taken the art of manipulation to shameless heights.
Sexually deceptive orchids, as biologists have long known, look and can even smell so much like a female insect that males will try to mate with the flower in a sometimes vigorous process that can result in pollination. But scientists now report that the tongue orchids of Australia are such thoroughly convincing mimics of female wasps that males not only try to mate with them, but they actually do mate with them — to the point of ejaculation.
“It’s always been described as pseudocopulation,” said Anne Gaskett, a graduate student at Macquarie University in Australia and the lead author of the study. “But it looked like true copulation to me.”
The discovery that orchids can induce such an extreme response is more than just bizarre natural history, because biologists have always assumed that the sexual misrepresentations of orchids were harmless to the duped males, no more than a comical exercise in frustration.
Yet the study, published last month in The American Naturalist, suggests a potentially huge cost to the wasps.
“If males waste all their sperm on orchids,” Ms. Gaskett asked, “what have they got to offer a real female?”
Beyond that, why, scientists asked, would orchids do such an evolutionarily foolish thing? Why would a flower evolve to compromise the ability of its pollinator to reproduce?
So many orchids treat their pollinators so nastily, with false promises of food and sex or the occasional dunking of insect visitors into bucket-shaped petals full of liquid, that naturalists have puzzled over the relationship for more than a century.
Darwin was so consumed by the odd interactions that after “The Origin of Species,” his next book was an entire volume on the subject, “The Various Contrivances by Which Orchids Are Fertilized by Insects.”
In the case of the tongue orchids and their dupe wasps, at least, scientists say they may have deciphered why these flowers abuse their visitors: the treatment of the wasps may, in fact, be very much to the orchids’ advantage.
In wasps, the sex of an individual, male or female, is determined by a peculiar genetic system known as haplodiploidy. In this system, females are produced by an egg from their mother and a sperm from their father. But males have just half of the genetic complement and are produced by females from just an egg, without the aid of a male or a single drop of sperm.
For an orchid that is pollinated just by males, depleting sperm that would be used just to produce females might not be a drawback at all. It could even be a plus, because some female wasps without sufficient sperm tend to produce more sons — or, from the orchid’s perspective, more pollinators.
Increasing the numbers of males, scientists say, could even make males a bit more desperate and less discriminating — another potential advantage for an orchid trying to fool a male into giving the not-quite-right-looking fake female sitting immobile inside its petals a try.


Arare Orchid Called Chapman's Orchid found in Silsbee, Texas

Chapman's orchid has been found on The Nature Conservancy's Roy E. Larsen
Sandyland Sanctuary... near Silsbee.

The orchid is bright yellow orange in color, with multiple blooms densely
packed on a narrow stem. The flower is pollinated by large butterflies,
including swallowtails.The Chapman's orchid has been found in only three
counties in Texas, including Hardin, Orange and Tyler. It also grows in
southeastern Georgia and northern Florida.

The orchid is found in wet areas of sphagnum moss and acidic soils within
longleaf pine savannas. Nature Conservancy staff member Bob Boensch,
conservation forest technician, located the orchids in an area of the
preserve following a prescribed burn. Dense vegetation and debris from
Hurricane Rita has made finding plants such as the orchid a challenge.

Chapman's orchid was first described in 1903 when a specimen was collected
in Apalachicola, Florida, and was named after the collector, A.W. Chapman.
For many years, there was debate over whether the plant was a separate
species or a hybrid of two other similar-looking orchids. Based on its
pollination and studies of populations of the orchid, scientists determined
that the Chapman's orchid is a separate and unique species.

The wetland savannas where the orchid grows are considered among the most
threatened and rare plant communities in the entire state. Before East
Texas was densely settled, these savannas were kept open by frequent
natural fires and were lush with grasses, wildflowers and a scattering of
longleaf pine trees."



Steve Peralta

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vanilla Orchids - Vanilla planifolia

Vanilla orchids... now cultivated in Madagascar, Tahiti and Indonesia. New plantations... also... in the Caribbean and Africa.
... The vine grows in the shade of a host tree, like citrus or cacao...It... takes nine months for the blossoms to mature into the... green beans. After the beans are harvested, they go through a... curing process that canalso take up to nine months. The quality of the vanilla bean depends moston how well it has been cured...
Vanilla extract is made by immersing vanilla beans in alcohol. Vanillapaste and vanilla powder, long used in Europe, are now being introduced toAmerican...
The labor involved in bringing the completed vanilla bean to the tablemakes it the second-most expensive spice in the world [first is saffron]"
URL :,pp-vanilla-081607-s2.article


"Vanilla planifolia
... Tropical Americas, not native to Florida but occasionally found in the
southernmost part of the state.
leaves... oblong to lanceolate to 8 inches long, on short petioles or leaf
The vine branch or stem is stout, green and clings to host.
The roots are thick and covered with velamen... clings to the host without
damaging it... absorbing water.
Flowers... yellowish to greenish... sepals and petals to 2 1/2 inches long,
the lip three-lobed.
... flowers appear in groups or individually when the vine is mature...
Pollination in the wild is by bees and hummingbirds [! ?], but by hand for
commercial production.
The fruit... an orchid seed pod... harvested for culinary use while still
green... undergoes an extensive process of curing to develop the... vanilla.

Hardiness: USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11, damaged by temperatures below 50

Height/width: Vine is sparse in leaf and flower and can grow to 100 feet
long in the wild. Size is controlled for commercial and hobbyist purposes.

Light: Part, shifting shade, such as found under a tree canopy.

... Vanilla orchids are epiphytes...

Notes and culture: ... The Mexican Totonaca [Totonac / Totonacos] Indians
reportedly were the first to grow the... pod. The Totonaca[o]s... conquered
by the Aztecs... combined... spice with cacao and honey for a beverage...
Cortez is reported to have taken vanilla with him on his return to Spain.
It is said that Thomas Jefferson brought vanilla to the United States.
Today, most of the commercial production of vanilla is in Mexico and
there are new vanilla plantations under development in Hawaii.

Vanilla orchids are easy to grow.
They require warm temperatures, high humidity and some shade, such as found
under a tree or in a shadehouse.
... orchid mix, fertilize lightly and frequently, and water if rain is in
short supply.
vanilla will produce flowers in the home garden, but the plants must be
mature, from 1 to 3 years old.
Flowers must be hand pollinated during the one day they are open.
Once pollinated, the pods will remain on the plants for up to nine months
before mature.
After harvesting the green pod, at least three months of curing is
necessary to produce the... flavor and aroma associated with vanilla."


illustration :

Vanilla and Viruses

If you test ten (10) Vanilla orchids for a viruses most likely all ten will carry a virus. A great many Vanilla orchids carry viruses. Why? Because most all Vanilla orchid plants are grown from cuttings, similar to reed stem Epidendrums. So if you want to grow a virus free Vanilla orchid, you will need to start one from seed.

Hope this helps.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Happy Customer

This photo was sent to us by Mary Barnes of Dallas, Texas and shows two purple Phalaenopsis orchids set in her beautiful crystal planter. When Mrs. Barnes sent me this image, she wrote:
Although the color shift does not do your orchids justice, I wanted you to see how beautiful they are in our home.
Thank you Mrs. Barnes!!!
Does anyone else have photos of orchids they received from that you want to share with others, send images to the following email:

Virtually yours,

Ecuagenera registers hybrids with RHS

Ecuagenera has recently registered a number of hybrids with RHS (RoyalHorticultural Society). These plants were named on the 21st of June in honor of those people who have worked in collaboration with Ecuagenera in a number of areas, including the lab, general labor and socially.
You can see some pictures at:



Phone: 011 593 7 2255237
Fax: 011 593 7 2255236

Steve Peralta

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Two rare orchid species discovered in Phu Quoc - Malaxis calophylla

Two rare varieties [species] of orchid discovered on Phu Quoc...The orchid that has scientific name of Malaxis calophylla... Wildlife at Risk (WAR) has recently reported that two... species of orchid had been discovered on Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang in Vietnam.
They are Malaxis calophylla and a[A]phyllorchis M[m]ontana. This is thefirst time scientists have found... Malaxis calophylla orchid in Vietnam.Meanwhile, they still lack research data to evaluate the situation of theAphyllorchis M[m]ontana orchid in the country.
Scientists discovered only one sample of each kind [species] of orchid...
In a previous survey conducted in May 2007, another rare species oforchid... Paphiopedilum callosum was reported at Phu Quoc National Park.This was the first time scientists discovered the presence of an orchid onthis island.
Of the three varieties of orchid found on Phu Quoc, the Malaxis calophyllais reported for the first time in Vietnam while the Paphiopedilum callosumis being exploited in other regions of Vietnam and the preservation of allthree types of orchids is in serious jeopardy.
Surveys made at Phu Quoc National Park are part of a bigger preservationprogramme conducted by WAR in cooperation with Phu Quoc National Park sinceearly 2007. The major goal of this programme is protecting the naturalresources of the island, one of the important sites of biodiversity inVietnam."
URL / photo : "... Malaxis calophylla":

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ghost Orchid - Polyrrhiza lindenii

The ghost orchid... produced thirteen blossoms from July 7 through July29. Now, the "super ghost" as it is being called, is set to produce anadditional ten blossoms. Ghost orchids typically only produce one blossom per plant, per year....Ed Carlson, executive director of the sanctuary [Corkscrew Swamp]. "Ghost orchids are rare to begin with and none have ever been found with as manyblooms as this. This second round of blooms is a one of a kind event."
The ghost orchid is an extremely rare, epiphytic orchid that grows in asmall concentrated area of Southwest Florida. Special security measures arein place at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to protect the precious plant...
Orchid lovers have a window of three to four weeks to catch the latestghost orchid bloom. Visitation to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary increased by 200 percent during the first bloom in July, with orchid lovers coming fromacross the country. Visitors to the sanctuary will find spotting scopes foreasy close-up views set up along the sanctuary's boardwalk... the plant is150 feet from the boardwalk at a height of 45 feet....Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located just northeast of Naples



Steve Peralta

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Endanger orchid in Yadon's piperia

Federal wildlife officials say preserving habitat areas for Yadon's piperia, an endangered perennial orchid that primarily grows in Monterey pine forests, could cost up to $13 million during the next 20 years.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service... released a draft economic analysisthat estimates the costs associated with conserving more than 2,000 acresof critical habitat for the endangered plant.
The study says it would cost $9.6 million to $12.9 million over the nexttwo decades to protect habitat areas for Yadon's piperia. In October, thefederal agency proposed designating 2,306 acres as critical habitat forthe... orchid.
About 84 percent of the proposed habitat area consists of private lands onthe Peninsula and other parts of the county. State land comprises 9 percentof proposed habitat area, while 7 percent belongs to local governmentagencies.
Of the private lands, about 25 percent is owned or managed by the ElkhornSlough Foundation and the Del Monte Forest Foundation...
Yadon's piperia, which grows small white flowers on a slender stalk, waslisted as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1998.
The proposed critical habitat area was designated in response to a lawsuitfiled by the Center for Biological Diversity against the federal wildlifeagency.
Federal law requires that wildlife officials consider economic and otherimpacts of proposed critical habitat decisions. If the benefits ofexcluding an area from critical habitat outweigh the benefits of includingit, the wildlife agency may exclude it."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hawaii's Orchid Industry

Over 90 percent of Hawaii's orchid industry is on the Big Island, which is home to at least 65 orchid growers. The Hawaii Department of Agriculturereports that the Big Island's wholesale volume in 2006 was $15 million.


Steve Peralta

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Liu Huong Tzong - Taiwan Orchids Pioneer

Liu Huang Tzong-te, 74, is a pioneer in the export of Taiwan's...butterfly 22, ... in Chiayi County... began helping his father with his orchidplants...
In those days, Japan was the most advanced nation in orchid culture, andLiu purchased many Japanese books and magazines on orchids. He took what helearned and often spread the information around in the most importantdomestic orchid publication of the day, "Taiwan Orchids". In those earlydays, very few people contributed to the magazine in Chinese, and most ofthe content was translated from the Japanese. Liu's insightful analysis ofissues related to orchid growing immediately attracted the attention ofthose in the industry in Taiwan.
... At 35, he was invited to serve as the chief judge for the OrchidProducer and Sellers Association, a post which he held for seven years.When he gave it up at age 42, he devoted himself to traveling the world tolearn about orchids, and to promoting orchid exports in Taiwan.
For over 20 years, the domestic market for butterfly orchids had beenoversaturated, and the development of exports had reached a bottleneck...butterfly orchids were selling at 3 for NT$100 ? little more than US$1 apiece. Farmers were simply getting no return for their labor. At that time,there was a huge demand in Japan for young plants... Liu developed areputation as a supplier, convincing the Japanese to purchase plants fromTaiwan. Exports topped 200,000 plants and many farmers were saved frombankruptcy, divorce or the loss of their livelihood.

Steve Peralta