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."