Our guest speaker for January will be James Rose, owner of Cal Orchids. Jim will open his presentation by teaching us the best way to re-pot our orchids. This is an important skill, and is a subject many have requested.
His main topic will be the “Orchids of Madagascar”. Madagascar is best known for its remarkable fauna, including the famous lemurs. It is also home to over 900 orchid species in 57 genera, many of which are as endangered as the lemurs. These orchids are so beautiful and unique.
You may be familiar with the story of “Darwin’s” orchid. Angraecum sesquipedale, which is also known as the Christmas orchid, Star of Bethlehem orchid, and King of the Angraecums, is an epiphytic orchid in the genus Angraecum endemic to Madagascar. It is noteworthy for its long spur and its association with the naturalist Charles Darwin, who surmised that the flower was pollinated by a then undiscovered moth with a proboscis whose length was unprecedented at the time. His prediction had gone unverified until 21 years after his death, when the moth was discovered and his conjecture vindicated.
These orchids are highly prized and hunted by collectors and the orchid trade. Additionally, much of Madagascar is rainforest, and much of that rainforest is disappearing. When the rainforest the threatened, the orchids that live there are also in peril. Some of the threatened species are Angraecum longicalcar, Angraecum magdalenae, Bulbophyllum hamelinii, Grammangis spectabilis
and Eulophiella roempleriana. Be sure to mark your calendar. You won’t want to miss this highly informative talk and the culture session on “repotting”.
(Right: Darwins Orchid: Angraecum sesquipedale and its pollinator, a long-tongued moth)