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Excerpts from

VOLUME 79, NO. 3—July, August, September 2015


Falling for Phals
Norman Fang
2 pages, 3 photos

Phal. Ebony Sweet Gem (prov.) ‘Little Treasure’

Phal. Ebony Sweet Gem (prov.) ‘Little Treasure’
©Don Chen

Black phalaenopsis anyone? Harlequin breeding, in its infancy, produced classically large flowers with erratic bold spotting patterns, but their patterning was not stable from one flower to the next due to the influence of light and temperature. Many of these early hybrids were the result of a fusing of the spotting patterns from the influence of Phal. lueddemanniana, amboinensis and gigantea in their breeding backgrounds. As succeeding generations were created, many by mating a harlequin with another harlequin, the consistency of the patterning was stabilized to the degree that an entire inflorescence would exhibit flowers that were all identical to each other making for a much more attractive display. During the development of this line of breeding, we began to see hybrids created whereby this heavy harlequin patterning was suffused to an almost solid mahogany color covering much of the flower, also giving the flowers better substance due to the heavy layers of pigmentation, one laid over the other. This gave rise to exciting new colors and patterns for larger-flowered hybrids, but due to their harlequin breeding parentage, standard harlequins were just not as floriferous or compact as had been hoped for as young first-bloomers...


Calling all Paphiophiles
Harold Koopowitz
2 pages, 6 photos

New form of Paph. hirsutissium
New form of Paph. hirsutissium
©Harold Koopowitz

I was fortunate enough to attend the 20th Paphiopedilum meeting in Ibaraki, Japan in April. The meeting, organized by Knob Mochizuki, does not have a formal name, but is usually referred to as the Mochizuki or Japan Paph Guild meeting. I had heard a lot about the meetings but this is the first I attended.

There was Japanese Orchid Growers Association (JOGA) judging and an impressive display of well over a hundred fine slipper orchids. The greater majority of them were slippers but, because of judging, a few other genera were also displayed and awarded. There were some special plants indeed. Among the more interesting, in my opinion, were new forms of Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum brought in by Sakurai Hajime. One plant shown as Paphiopedilum esquirolei 4N ‘Ruby Queen’ had three intensely colored flowers and was awarded a Gold Medal by the JOGA. Another plant of Paph. hirsutissimum, without a clonal name, carried a very large flower. I am not sure of the origin of these plants, but they were spectacular and had proportionally much larger dorsal sepals than any I have seen. I was told that they came from a population of wild plants with gigantic flowers...

Crazy for Catts
New Trends in Cattleya Breeding
Peter T Lin
2 pages, 3 images

Cattleya Pink Opal
Cattleya Pink Opal
©Peter T. Lin

Since hobbyists these days are facing the challenges of smaller growing areas, ever increasing collections, and growing on window sills or under lights, the trend is to smaller growing orchids. For cattleyas, there have been miniature cattleyas or mini-catts for a while now; now micro miniature hybrids are starting to be made. What is a micro mini-catt? There is probably no standard definition, but I would say a plant under 5 inches (12.5 cm) would fit the micro-mini category. Hybridizers are starting to use well-known species such as Cattleya coccinea, as well as newer species like Cattleya alaorii, Cattleya cernua, and Cattleya wittigiana. There are also a number of tiny rupicolous Cattleya species like C. esalqueana and C. lilliputiana, among others that could be used to create micro mini-catts...

Brassavola nodosa and Paul Hermann
Rudolf Jenny
9 pages, 2 photos, 14 illustrations

Brasavola (Brassavola) nodosa
Brasavola (Brassavola) nodosa
from Edwards’s Botanical Register, t.1465, 1831
Brassavola nodosa belongs, without any doubts, to the tropical orchids longest known in Europe. It was certainly one of the very first imported alive from the neotropics. Having a history of more than 300 years explains the collection of names used during this time for Brassavola nodosa. The large distribution area of the species in the neotropics is the reason why botanist today are still arguing whether we have a single species with a considerable variability or a complex of several closely allied species...

Chinese Paphiopedilum Species and Their Hybrids
Part 3: Paphiopedilum malipoense
(continued from Vol. 79-2)
Olaf Gruss (Translated by Daniel Geiger)
10 pages, 37 photos

Paphiopedilum Yakushiji (malipoense × wenshanense)

Paphiopedilum Yakushiji (malipoense × wenshanense)
©Toshinori Tanaka

Crosses with all of the brachys had been registered by 1994 except for Paph. wenshanense. They included: Paph. niveum (Paph. Wössner Jade 1991), Paph. bellatulum (Paph. Ma Belle 1992), Paph. concolor (Paph. Wössner Concomal 1993), and Paph. godefroyae (Paph. Mint Chocolate 1994). Paph. wenshanense was missing. The wenshanense cross was submitted for registration as Paph. Yakushiji by Toshinori Tanaka from Tokyo in 2004.

Building a Living Museum of Slipper Orchids
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Norma Raiff, Demetria Marsh and Barbara Tisherman
3 pages, 1 photos

If you are a lover of slipper orchids, have you ever wanted to see or hybridize with such “famous Paph. stars” as Paphs. F. C. Puddle ‘Bodnant’ AM/AOS, Orchilla ‘Chilton’ FCC/AOS, or Winston Churchill ‘Redoubtable’ FCC/AOS... the genetic building blocks and classic beauties that are the basis of current slipper breeding? Do these plants even exist anymore…and just where could you see them? An answer to these questions may be found in the work of the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania (OSWP) and its innovative Phipps-Orchid Society Initiative (P-OSI).

Almost two years ago, we reported in the Orchid Digest on the startup of P-OSI, an exciting joint venture between the renowned Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and the OSWP. This partnership was intended to upgrade Phipps’ orchid collection by systematically identifying historically important orchids and helping Phipps to acquire them to support its mission of conservation, research, and public enjoyment. A second objective was to develop an OSWP working corps of volunteers that would provide regularly scheduled hands-on effort and access to OSWP’s knowledge and networking resources to the Conservatory. The benefits were two-way: besides helping to maintain an important and exquisite orchid collection, P-OSI energized many OSWP members with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement...


Ruiz, Pavón, And Dombey:
Orchids Make Strange Bedfellows
Carol Siegel
16 pages, 11 photos, 5 illustrations

Sobralia dichotoma
Sobralia dichotoma
©Eric Hunt
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the world by successfully launching Sputnik I. Although the first artificial satellite was only the size of a beach ball and transmitted to Earth for less than a month, it caught the world’s attention and the American public off-guard. On November 3, a more impressive Sputnik II was launched carrying a heavier payload and a dog named Laika. History was changed forever. The United States, in a tailspin, created NASA, invested heavily in science and math education, and launched satellites of its own. The Space Race had begun. Nobody was exactly sure why the United States needed to beat the Russians into space or onto the moon, but it was a matter of national pride, and countries were eager to show they were the best.

It wasn’t that different in 1775. Instead of competing for supremacy in space, 18th century European nations competed for domination in the plant world. The Age of Discovery had cracked open exciting and unknown lands, and a stream of daring adventurers rushed to explore the botanical riches of these new green corners of the world. In a contest for national pride and world status (in a way that seems strange to us today), nations engaged in a “Botanical Race.” Every nation wanted to find new plants. Bringing back exotic plants from the jungle then was like bringing back rocks from Mars would be today. Rich monarchs would pay a fortune for exotic treasures for their new botanic gardens. For three exciting centuries, France was the master of plant hunting and dominated the botanical world. France gained great prestige by sponsoring more of the voyages of botanical discovery than any other nation—until England snatched her title with Captain Hook’s voyage to the Pacific and the rise of Kew Gardens. Spain, on the other hand, had a reputation for being backward intellectually and was among the last to get into botany. Anxious for prestige in this important field, Spain’s King Carlos III desperately wanted to shore up the sagging Spanish botanical reputation and decided to join with France on an epic botanical journey...

Practical Advice in Eradicating Scale Occurrence in Orchid Houseplants
Carlos Macku
6 pages, 7 photos, 2 illustrations

A mature scale insect found on the labellum of a phalaenopsis orchid flower.

A mature scale insect found on the labellum of a phalaenopsis orchid flower.
© Carlos Macku

After cultivating orchids for almost ten years inside my house, I first noticed, in 2007, a tacky and translucent substance lying on top of my phalaenopsis plants. There were also tiny specks on both sides of their steak-sized leaf blades that resembled dried mud droplets. However, it didn’t take too long to realize that these brown bulges were in fact some type of insect infestation that was spreading over my entire orchid collection. In hindsight, these critters resembled the scale insects that contributed to the demise of a beautiful indoor Ficus tree (Ficus benjamina) owned by a good friend of mine.

At first, I ignored the problem because no apparent physiological consequence was observed on the plants. However, the number of brown spots over my indoor orchid collection kept mounting and the honeydew that was being discharged by the scale population was quite unsightly, not only on the plant leaves but also on furniture and household artifacts. I began to read and educate myself on the topic and came to the realization that I would have to either destroy my orchid collection or treat it with a horticultural pesticide, which I vehemently opposed due to the location of the plants. Therefore, I searched and found (as well as rationalized) other alternative remedies and procedures, which I believe are finally eradicating the scale insect infestation...