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Excerpts from

VOLUME 79, NO. 1—January, February, March 2015


Calling All Paphiophiles
Harold Koopowitz
1 page, 3 photos

Paph. Imelda Bobadilla x Icy Icy Wind

Paph. Imelda Bobadilla x Icy Icy Wind
©Harold Koopowitz

During November several of us had the opportunity to visit the Orchid Zone Nursery now owned by the enthusiastic John Chant and under the management of Nick Tannaci. John is doing the slipper hybridizing under the mentorship of Terry Root. We wish them well in their endeavor.

At the Orchid Zone, they have been flowering out an interesting hybrid of Paphiopedilum Imelda Bobadilla by Paph. Icy Icy Wind. The former is a standard green and the latter a white with its genetic background featuring Paph. Greyi album. I was fortunate enough to be able to procure one of them. The petals are beautifully rounded, broad and flat. The best have flowers with a clean white background. It is instructive to investigate the genealogy of this cross...

Cypripedium cruciforme, Heinrich Zollinger,
Wilhelm Hendrik de Vriese, and Alexander Moritzi

Rudolf Jenny
7 pages, 7 photos

Orchid Album, t.491, 1891
©Orchid Album, t.491, 1891

There are many beautiful illustrations of Paphiopedilum species in old books or old journals, some of them are well known, some others almost forgotten. Cypripedium cruciforme is a good example in the category of the almost forgotten illustrations. Its history and the history of the involved botanists are interesting enough to be published...

The Road to Maldonado - Dracula Hunting in Ecuador
Clare & Johan Hermans
11 pages, 21 images

Dendrochilum cootesii
Dracula andreettae seen at the third dracula stop, E of Maldonado, moss forest, Carchi prov.
© Johan Hermans

We were first bitten by the dracula bug almost 25 years ago when we began to grow and study these fascinating plants. Very few species were available but many were being discovered and described by Carl Luer, Alex Hirtz, and others. Nurseries like J&L Orchids and Ecuagenera propagated the plants, and they slowly emerged in the trade. We were frequently told that the new discoveries from Ecuador came from forest near the new Road to Maldonado, a town close to the Colombian border. The ‘Road to Maldonado’ became some sort of a mystical place for us, evoking a wilderness filled with Draculas. We were determined to see this Dracula heaven but the security situation around the Colombian border soon began to deteriorate and the plan had to be shelved.

Fast forward by twenty years when Pepe Portilla, over a cold beer, mentioned the possibility of perhaps seeing some draculas in their habitat on the eponymous road to Maldonado; we leapt at the chance and in April 2014 we were heading for the cool forests of the Ecuadorean Cordillera...

Dendrobium rantii
Roland Schettler
1 page,2 photos

Lycaste campbellii ‘Minnehaha’ flowering profusely.
Dendrobium rantii
©Roland Schettler

While checking the orchid literature from time to time to learn names or refresh my memory about them, I once again came across the book A to Z of Southeast Asian Orchid Species by Peter O`Byrne. Some times I am lucky and I find a species of which I have never heard before or have forgotten. Dendrobium rantii is a case in point. When reviewing the book, I read about the species, but I forgot about it. O`Byrne wrote that the species is one of the showiest in the whole genus. Dendrobium rantii J.J. Smith was first described in Johann Jacobs: Orchidaceae Novae Malayenses XV in 1934...


The Secret Life of Orchid Roots
Carol Siegel
14 pages, 26 photos, 1 drawing

Five siblings of Paph. John Yates

In the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon, it was reported that a fungus Armillaria ostoyae (honey mushroom) extended over 2,200 acres with a mass of 605 tons, thought to be the largest organism in terms of area in the world.
©Ron Parsons

In challenging environments and hostile conditions, orchids have a tough time staying alive. Wherever they live, they face critical shortages of some elements needed for survival. Growing in leaf litter at the shady base of the forest canopy, they rarely get sufficient light for adequate photosynthesis. Growing precariously on branches at the top of the forest canopy or sitting exposed on a rock, they get plenty of light but are desperate for a secure hold, for water, and for essential nutrients. Yet orchids have not only survived but also thrived to become a dominant life form, representing fully ten percent of all plant species. Against all odds, orchids have figured it out. Orchid roots are one very elegant solution to the orchid’s problem of staying alive. Their structure is uniquely adapted to quickly capture and retain water and nutrients, and their velamen cleverly endows the root with survival advantages. Moreover, roots have exploited fungi to provide the plant with whatever the environment lacks. Some orchid roots even provide a home for ants that supplement orchid nourishment. Orchid roots are an amazing adaptation, stunning in complexity and efficiency. This is the secret world of orchid roots ...


Ten Ways to Kill an Orchid
Carol Siegel
4 pages

They say that you should only write about the things you know best. When Nick Burnett, gifted speaker, came to our Greater Las Vegas Orchid Society several years ago, he jokingly said that he would show us seven ways to kill an orchid—because that was what he knew best! We howled with recognition as he regaled us with all his favorite ways to hurry an orchid on its way to the garbage can and all his favorite ways to avoid that trip as well.

Nick, however, is not the only expert on orchids and the Grim Reaper. Many of us collect the tags from orchids that have sadly “bit the dust,” colored plastic tombstones which remind us of our departed beauties and our worst mistakes. With a nod to Nick, I present to you ten ways to kill an orchid in the hope that you will avoid—rather than repeat—them…