Orchid Digest Logo
 


The Orchid Digest is a
non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
 

Excerpts from

VOLUME 77, NO. 3—July, August, September 2013

 

IMAGING SMALL ORCHID FLOWERS USING VISIBLE LIGHT
DANIEL L. GEIGER
12 pages, 30 photos, 5 tables



Masdevallia medinae. Flowers with deep recesses, such as this Masdevallia medinae, often have strong shadows inside the cup. Brightening cardboards were placed below and to the right of the flower. A diffusor screen is placed at an angle over the plant, with the flash directed into the cup.
©Daniel Geiger

Orchids are one of the largest families of flowering plants with an estimated 30,000 species, with additional ones being discovered on a regular basis. Documenting biodiversity and range of morphology can be accomplished by various collecting techniques. Given that all orchids are CITES protected, non-destructive documentation, such as photography, has an important place in the documentary efforts. Additionally, many horticulturists enjoy taking images of their flowers. The majority of flowers are small and small objects are more challenging to photograph.

In this article, I will provide an overview of techniques for imaging small orchid flowers. Successful photography is based on a thorough understanding of the working principles. Accordingly, I will supplement simple rules of thumb with detailed explanations of why those rules are in place. It will require diving into principles of optics and physics. I have strived to keep the technical portion as easy to follow as possible, while still being accurate, and never losing touch with the practice of imaging flowers...

   
 
DISAS IN CULTIVATION: AN UPDATE
WALTER ORCHARD
7 pages, 13 image
s


The pure yellow (alba) form of uniflora is a mutant that displays only the color due to carotenoid pigments.
©Walter Orchard

The genus Disa consists of over 150 species of terrestrial orchids occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and, in a few cases, on two islands (Madagascar and Reunion) and the Arabian peninsula (Linder and Kurzweil, 1999). This range encompasses many different types of climate and soil; consequently there can be no single description of the cultural requirements for the entire genus. The majority of Disa species are found in the Western Cape, South Africa, a temperate, often mountainous, winter-rainfall region. Yet even here, disas that are found growing in close proximity to each other may require fundamentally different cultural practices. The best-known Disa species are evergreen and are found growing on stream banks, waterfalls and damp cliffs where there is water all year round. They are also the easiest to cultivate. This article will focus on these species and their hybrids...

 
GEORGE HANSEN & THE HYBRID LIST
WESLEY HIGGINS & PEGGY ALRICH
4 pages, 2 images

In 1853, the first hybrid orchid was made by John Dominy; Calanthe Dominii, (Calanthe masuca x Calanthe furcata). Then as bigeneric crosses (crosses involving two different genera) were made, the taxonomists became rather distressed because many of the progeny varied in their inherited characteristics so that some of the plants might produce flowers which resembled one parent while other plants from the same seed pod might resemble the other parent. At first, the practice was to give these offspring names based on the genus which the plants most nearly resembled. For instance, the cross made by Dominy between (as then reported) Cattleya mossiae and Laelia purpurata was called Cattleya Exoniensis, but the same cross made elsewhere was called Laelia Canhamiana. A cross between Phaius grandiflorus and Calanthe vestita was named Phaius irroratus, while a cross between an Anoectochilus and what was grown then as a Goodyera was called both Anoectochilus and Goodyera, depending on which plant was the seed parent. Finally, a cross between Cattleya intermedia and Sophronitis grandiflora produced seedlings which were named Laelia Batemanniana. This total confusion and consternation threatened the whole system of orchid nomenclature in that many taxonomists decided that if species of two distinct genera could hybridize, then the genera must be combined, this in some cases necessitated the incorporation of two or more separate subtribes into one genus (Dillon 1957)...

 
ERIA RHOMBOIDALIS:
A TRUE ERIA AND A NEW RECORD FOR VIETNAM
André Schuiteman, Henrik Æ. Pedersen, Ng Yan Peng
5 pages, 10 images


Eria coronaria, cultivated by Jack Wubben.
©Lubbert Westra

Until recently, Eria Lindl. was considered to be one of the larger orchid genera, with close to 400 species. Although extremely diverse, especially in plant habit, the genus in its traditional sense (“Eria sensu lato” or Eria s.l.) is fairly easy to recognize. In most species the flowers have a well-developed column-foot, which causes the buds to have a distinct chin-like basal projection. This produces a certain resemblance to such genera as Dendrobium Sw. and Bulbophyllum Thouars, but Eria differs in having eight, rather than four or two pollinia, and the pollinia are attached to caudicles, unlike those of Dendrobium and Bulbophyllum. Many, but by no means all, Eria species have hairy flowers (eria is Greek for “wool”), and the inflorescences are often hairy as well. Although there are exceptions, most Eria species have thin, wiry, and densely hairy roots...

 
THUNIA ALBA (LINDL.) REICHB.F.
A RARE WILD ORNAMENTAL ORCHID
FROM THE ANDAMAN ISLANDS IN THE BAY OF BENGAL
SAM P. MATHEW
2 pages, 2 images


Thunia alba
©S. P. Mathew

The Andaman-Nicobar Islands, about 647 nautical miles away from the Coromandel Coast of the Peninsular India in the Bay of Bengal, is an insular ‘hot spot’ of plant diversity which covers an area of 8,249 sq km (3185 sq miles) with a coastal line of 1,962 km (1219 miles). This archipelago constitutes about 306 major islands and 206 islets and rocks and geographically occurs between the longitudes 92° 12” E to 93° 57”E and latitudes between 6° 45” N to 13° 41” N. Geologically, the Andaman-Nicobar Archipelago is “continental” in origin and considered as the emergent peaks of a submerged mountain range in the Bay of Bengal in continuation with the Arakan Yoma Mountains of Myanmar to the Moluccas Islands of the Indonesia...

 
SAVING SLIPPER ORCHIDS
Building a Living Museum of Historic Slippers at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

NORMA RAIFF
3 pages, 3 image
s


Welcome center, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
© Paul G. Wiegman

For many orchid fanciers, slipper orchids—the common name for the Cypripedioideae, mainly Paphiopedilums, Phragmipediums and Cypripediums—are among their most prized plants. But like a person fleeing a storm and deciding which of one’s most prized objects to rescue, how do you select which of your prized orchids should be saved? Which orchids stand out in terms of beauty, value, break-through breeding or other qualities that speak to you?...

 

ORCHID SPOTTING IN SOUTH AFRICA
JOHAN & CLARE HERMANS
6 pages, 25 photos


Satyrium trinerve
©Johan Hermans

In many respects South Africa is one of the richest countries in the world; its diversity in flora and fauna is legendary and its cultural multiplicity is renowned. We were hoping to enjoy some of these facets of the country during a short trip in January 2013; travelling from Johannesburg to the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains on the Eastern side of the country. During this journey we were looking forward to spotting a variety of orchids and also meet up with one of the least well-known of the South African communities. Our companion and guides were very experienced explorers and also the leading lights of the forthcoming World Orchid Conference in September 2014.

Our travels took us on a journey through the battlefields of the Boer War and some breath-taking scenery into three main localities, each offering distinct orchid habitats...