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Excerpts from

VOLUME 76, NO. 4—October, November, December 2012


An Updated, Annotated Checklist
of the Genus Paphiopedilum

Harold Koopowitz
38 pages, 121 photos

Paphiopedilum gigantifolium
©H. Koopowitz

There are a number of on-line listings of Paphiopedilum species names. Perhaps the most prestigious is that in the “World Checklist of Selected Plant Families” (WCSP 2012). This list is the consensus of some of the taxonomists familiar with the genus, but I and others have a number of disagreements with it, and the listing below follows my own preferences. The list also contains the names of natural hybrids. I will not bother with the hybrids in this list but note that I consider several plants on the lists accepted as natural hybrids can actually be considered species in their own right. There are a lot of varietal names in the literature. Many of the varieties listed in Pfitzer (1902), however, are undoubtedly merely forma names. I will refer to certain varieties only if they are significantly different from the original species...

Growing Slipper Orchids
Harold Koopowitz
11 pages, 1 image

The various genera that make up the slipper orchid sub-family tend to have different cultural requirements. Of the genera, Selenipedium does not have a history of cultivation, mainly because most of the species tend to grow too tall for most conservatories or greenhouses. Cypripedium, Mexipedium, Phragmipedium, Selenipedium are primarily terrestrial plants while many of the Paphiopedilum species are epiphytic, lithophytic or terrestrial. We will deal with Mexipedium first, and then Phragmipedium and Paphiopedilum together as many of their requirements are similar.

Many gardeners seem to forget that plants are living creatures and need to carry out all of the functions that animals also require. Plants must breathe, feed, drink, grow, and reproduce as well as other functions. As is the fate of higher living organisms, plants also die. Your job as a gardener is to make it as easy for the plant to continue living, growing, and flowering for as long as possible. Slipper orchids' cultural ease is attested by the fact that, for 150 years, they have been one of the most popular groups of orchids and are grown all over the world. I will not discuss cultivation of cypripediums as I have no experience with those delightful flowers...

Colors in Paphiopedilums
Harold Koopowitz
2 pages, 4 photos

©H. Koopowitz

The colors of Paphiopedilum flowers come in nearly all colors of the rainbow except blue and true red although tints of the latter appear in some forms of Paph. venustum. Many of the colors are unlike those of other flowers with many of the slippers possessing a predominance of somber shades of green, brown, mortuary purples and colors in between.  Basically the colors are produced in several different ways.  White is a structural color meaning that a pigment is not involved. The illusion of white is created by scattering light off tiny air spaces between the cells that make up the inner tissues of the petals. This is similar to the way colorless egg whites become white when air is beaten into them to make meringue...

The Ratcliffe Story
Paul Phillips
3 pages, 2 photos

The best place to start any story is at the beginning, and I suppose the beginning of the Ratcliffe story is the occasion of Ronnie’s first date with Edna, back in 1930, when he bought her an orchid corsage. It was a cattleya, of course, whose huge “chocolate-box” image was just the ticket in 1930! He told her that he wanted to grow orchids one day....

A New Vanda (Orchidaceae) from the Philippines
Vanda barnesii
Wesley E. Higgins and Martin Motes
3 page, 3 photo/illustrations

Vanda barnesii
©Carson Barnes

The land-locked Cordillera Administrative Region encompasses most of the central mountain range of Luzon, the largest range in the Philippines. This region is home to numerous indigenous tribes collectively called the Igorot. The native culture is largely undisturbed since the Spanish were unable to establish an administrative presence in the region until after 1850. The scenery is dominated by rice terraces that were cut out of the mountain side, looking like a stairway into the clouds. These agricultural areas have replaced most of the pine forest ecosystem that once filled the deep ravines. The present Mountain Province, (2,097 sq. km.), is so rugged and high (2,922 m or 9,587 ft) that frost has been known to occur.