Friday, August 31, 2007
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
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. "
URL : http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/29/HO3DRN9IP.DTL
Thursday, August 30, 2007
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."
Monday, August 27, 2007
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
"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,"
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.
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."
URL : http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/08/21/2010644.htm?section=australia
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.
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."
URL : http://www.thehardincountynews.com/news/2007/0822/News/023.html
Friday, August 17, 2007
... 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 : http://www.pioneerlocal.com/508275,pp-vanilla-081607-s2.article
... 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
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
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
After harvesting the green pod, at least three months of curing is
necessary to produce the... flavor and aroma associated with vanilla."
URL : http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2007/dec/16/plant-profile/
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
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 1888Orchids.com that you want to share with others, send images to the following email: 1800Orchids@gmail.com.
You can see some pictures at:
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ECUAGENERA
ECUAGENERA CO. LTDA.
Phone: 011 593 7 2255237
Fax: 011 593 7 2255236
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
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
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
URL : http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/070809/20070809005856.html?.v=1
Thursday, August 09, 2007
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."
URL : http://www.montereyherald.com/local/ci_6570700
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
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.
URL : http://www.taiwanheadlines.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=83084&ctNode=7
Mount Matalingahan sits in a 120,000-hectare (296,400-acre) forest.Conservationists want the government to declare the site as a protectedarea for wildlife."
Friday, August 03, 2007
Its recent discovery makes it the latest salvo in a battle between conservationists, developers and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture,Conservation and Environment to halt the remaining development on theecologically sensitive ridge.
The orchid subspecies, last seen in Gauteng in 1956, is the only known population...... endemic to SA, is on land earmarked to be developed as part of the Sugarbush housing estate development."
URL : http://www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=20070731090455284