Sunday, July 31, 2005

More helleborines

2005 July End of Month 027
Originally uploaded by meadow moon.
I came across a couple more Epipactis helleborines in bloom a few days ago. These ones, in a different part of town, were spared the jaws of whatever was nibbling on the plants at work, so I was able to get some pictures of the plants in bloom. A few more pictures here Also, according to the following
site, Epipactis helleborine is "an aggressive weed in certain US states".

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Orchids that have recently bloomed in my home

Paphiopedilum argus is a recent addition to my collection, selected and bought from the Victoria Orchid Society show in spring of 2005. The single blooming slipper orchids are my favorite, I find them stately and very elegant. Also a part of my collection is Paphiopedilum sukhakulii.

Brassia Eternal Wind "Summers Dream" was a house warming gift that was in spike when I received it. A beautiful spider orchid with the most interesting smelling flowers (like fermenting honey?). Unfortunately once the blooms fell off, so did most of the leaves. I am now slowly nursing it back to health.

Colmanara Wildcat "Gold Ring" has an interesting genetic history: it is a cross between 2 other hybrids (Odontonia x Odontocidium). If the driving force for hybridization is to produce viable, healthy plants that bloom frequently and are easy to take care of then this one is surely a success.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Phragmipedium kovachii

I am currently reading Orchid Fever by Eric Hansen. More on that later, but suffice to say for now that I am quite shocked at the underbelly of the orchid world, particularly with regards to stories and events surrounding orchid trade and greenhouse raids.

On that theme, last month I discovered this post from the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research weblog surrounding the recently discovered Phragmipedium kovachii, it's discoverer, James Michael Kovach, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Florida. You can read a more detailed account of this orchid scandal in an article entitled A whiff of scandal in the St. Petersburg Times Online.

Also, as posted on the UBC Botanical Gardens blog, some gorgeous pictures of Phragmipedium kovachii from the Peruvian Orchid Society.

Orchid named after Columbia astronaut

A letter to the editor of The Indian Express notes that an orchid has been named after Kalpana Chawla, an astronaut who was killed in the space shuttle Columbia accident in February 2003. The orchid, Brassocattleya Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, was developed by Keshab C. Pradhan, Former Chief Secretary, Sikkim. You can read a Wikipedia article about Kalpana Chawla, though it does not mention the orchid. The Royal Horticultural Society lists the new hybrid in its March - May 2003 Registrations as a cross of C. Hawaiian Wedding Song x Bc. Professor Yashpal.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Orchids on my travels

Originally uploaded by orchids77.
I didn't come across this beautiful specimen in the wild but rather in a garden in New Zealand. I found the furrowed lip spectacular and it reminded me of a 1980's tuxedo (does anyone else see it?). I had a diificult time identifying this one and to this day can only place it to the Coelogyne genus. I am pretty sure it is a hybrid, however I could be wrong. Readers - if you know the species or hybrid name please post a comment!

Orchids on my travels

Originally uploaded by orchids77.
While adventuring through New Zealand in 2004 I came upon Stanhopea oculata in a city park and thought that it's abstract flower deserved to be photographed. Recently, I learnt that it's native range is quite large - from Mexico to Columbia and the Amazon Basin in northern Brazil; and that it can grow in a variety of medium - from rainforest floors to trees and even rock 5000 feet up.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Platanthera elegans

Platanthera elegans
Originally uploaded by meadow moon.
Here's a picture of the other wild orchid species we found at the park earlier this week. Took a bit of detective work to figure out exactly what it is, as I thought at first it was either Platanthera unalascensis or Piperia maritima, but I finally found the description for Platanthera elegans, aka Piperia elegans; Elegant piperia; Wood-rein orchid which matches the plants we found: slender leafless stalks at time of bloom, bright green flowers with yellow anthers and flowers have a slender spur that is 2 to 3 times the length of the lip. More photos here.

More wild orchids in my backyard

Goodyera oblongifolia 1
Originally uploaded by meadow moon.
Well, not literally in my backyard, but earlier this week we found 2 different species of orchids in bloom at a local park. This is a picture of Goodyera oblongifolia, also known as Rattlesnake plantain. One of the plants was in bloom. Here is a picture of the whole plant.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Deadly Slipper: A Novel of Death in the Dordogne

This weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle published a review of a new novel by Michelle Wan (Doubleday: 0385514573), entitled Deadly Slipper. The novel is set in Dordogne, a forested region of southwestern France, where the main character's sister had disappeared 19 years earlier while on an orchid hunting expedition. According to the review, "neither these stock characters nor the predictable plot is the main course. What really compels Wan -- and may well snare her readers -- are the orchids hidden in these hills and the marvelous food issuing from their stone-walled kitchens."

Rare slipper orchid species found in Viet Nam

The Vietnam News Agency reported yesterday that three species of Paphiopedilum "have recently been identified in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in central Quang Binh province." The short article does not give much information on exact species, but states that the plants have "been listed in the World Conservation Union Red List of threatened species." The article also states that the "slipper orchids were first found in central coastal Khanh Hoa province in 1922 but populations were quickly exhausted. They were discovered again in 1996 in Khanh Hoa province and northern mountainous Cao Bang province. Later they were believed to be extinct due to severe hunting."

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Epipactis helleborine

Epipactis helleborine 2
Originally uploaded by meadow moon.
A friend and I found this orchid in bloom the other day on campus where we work. Pretty sure it is Epipactis helleborine - looks a lot like the flower on this web site, except the colours are a bit more reddish/brown/burgundy rather than pink. There are many plants with flower buds in the forested area where we found the orchids, but it seems that something likes to come along and chomp the bud tips off before the orchid has a chance to bloom. You can see evidence of the tip eaten off in the picture I took this morning of the only plant with surviving blooms.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cattleya growing tip

Susan Taylor, BellaOnline's Orchids Editor, posted a growing tip today for cattleyas: "Remove dried sheaths from Cattleya Alliance orchids".

Susan explains that removing the dried sheathing from cattleya pseudobulbs will help to "prevent buildup of moisture...This also provides more surface for photosynthesis activity. Insects, particularly scale insects, find Cattleya Alliance plants attractive." Susan also explains that dried sheathing on pseudobulbs can serve as hiding places for insects.

Monday, July 11, 2005

World orchid capital

An article in the Taiwan News Online today states that:

"Taiwan is currently the world's largest orchid producer with Taiwan orchids commanding more than two-thirds global market share. More than half of Taiwan's orchids are grown in Tainan County, effectively making it the world's orchid capital."

The article also states that: "According to recent statistics total butterfly orchid exports are around US$30 million annually and expected to grow."

To learn more about Taiwan's orchid industry, visit the above link.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Orchid show judges fragrance

Orchid shows that judge orchids by fragrance are apparently still quite uncommon in the United States, according to this article from the Baton Rouge Advocate in Louisiana. "Here, judges with the American Orchid Society will be judging the bloom fragrances for intensity and pleasantness...The judges will be judging in two categories: daytime and nighttime fragrances." The 26th annual Baton Rouge Orchid Society show is happening this Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Checking in with the corpse orchid

I've been checking the corpse orchid webcam every few days or so. The flowers are now described as a "brilliant blood red". A lengthy update was posted today indicating that tomorrow would be the last day for the corpse orchid webcam, but that they intend to use the webcam to monitor other orchid bloomings in the future. According to the American Orchid Society this is the first time anyone has used a webcam to document the flowering of an orchid.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Phalaenopsis blooming

2005 July Orchid Blooms 002
Originally uploaded by meadow moon.
I came home from work today to find that the first flower of my phalaenopsis that is in bloom had opened! This phalaenopsis is my original orchid and it hasn't bloomed since it was in bloom when it was given to me, either 2 or 3 and a half years ago. I used to have some idea of what type of phalaenopsis it might be, but didn't write it down and so now am on the hunt to find out.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Foot-candles explained

I've been trying to understand a bit more about foot-candles tonight to try and find the right amount of light for the Coelogyne clipping I got a couple of weeks ago. The leaves are supposed to be dark green, and were light green when I got it, but are even lighter green now, with a burnt tip on one of them. There is a gorgeous picture of a Coelogyne cristata in bloom here, with fabulously green leaves. Anyways, I have moved it to a different location with hopefully less light, which I think is what it needs.

From Wikipedia:
"A foot-candle (sometimes designated footcandle; abbreviated fc, lm/ft², or sometimes ft-c) is a non-SI unit of illuminance or light intensity ... Since light intensity is the primary factor in the photosynthesis of plants, horticulturalists often measure and discuss optimum intensity for various plants in foot-candles. Full, unobstructed sunlight has an intensity of approximately 10,000 fc. An overcast day will produce an intensity of around 1,000 fc. The intensity of light near a window can range from 100 to 5,000 fc, depending on the orientation of the window, time of year and latitude."

I have read that the Coelogyne cristata requires between 2000 and 4000 fc, but also as bright light as can be tolerated without burning the leaves. According to this plant information fact sheet from the New York Botanic Gardens, orchids requiring high light require approximately 3000 fc of light.

Brassidium with spike

Brassidium with spike
Originally uploaded by meadow moon.
I came back from being away this weekend to find that the ebay brassidium spike had more than doubled in size! I'm very excited for this plant to bloom.

I spent the weekend in Tofino with Jenn and gave her a lesson on posting to the blog, hence the lovely photo of the wild scottish orchid below. Looking forward to more of Jenn's posts - she has some great photos of orchids from her travels around the world.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Found! The Common Spotted Orchid of Scotland

Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Originally uploaded by orchids77.

I stumbled upon this Dactylorhiza fuchsii while viewing "Kilt Rock" on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. A bright discovery on a dreary day! I identified the orchid from Wild Flowers (by John Akeroyd), a floral guide of north-western Europe which can be easily found on