January 6th, 2016 Guest Speaker James Rose of Cal Orchids

James and Lauris Rose.large thumbnailOur 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 orchidStar 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 AngraeDarwin's orchid and moth.cum 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)

 

 

October 7th, 2015 Presentation: Orchids: Sex, Lies and Deceptions

The Flying Duck Orchid

The Flying Duck Orchid  

Our guest speaker for our next San Fernando Valley Orchid Society General meeting on October 7th is our very own SFVOS member Pamela Aitchison, who will give us a presentation about the amazing world of orchid pollination. 

Orchid flowers are different than the flowers of most other plant species, and their reproductive methods are even more unique.   Many orchid flowers resort to clever illusions and trickery to lure their pollinators.  

Pam has been growing orchids for more than 30 years, and her collection includes Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, Miltonias & Miltoniopsis, Oncidiums, Masdevallias, as well as Phalaenopsis, Cymbidiums, Vandas, Vanilla Orchids and Zygopetalums.

Pam is a UCCE Master Gardener, and has been teaching organic gardening for many years. She has spoken at many locations throughout Southern California including California State University Northridge (CSUN), the LA County Fair, and many schools and non-profit organizations in our region. 

58th Annual Paphiopedilum Guild

Mark Your Calendars for this Special Event.

Expert Speaker Presentations

Slipper Orchid Displays • Orchid Sales
*New Location* Montecito Country Club *New Location*
902 Summit Road • Santa Barbara, CA

Saturday & Sunday, January 18-19, 2014

Featured Speakers:
Bill Goldner (Woodstream Orchids – Huntingtown, MD)
David Sorokowsky (Paph Paradise – Modesto, CA)
Dr. Harold Koopowitz (Editor Emeritus, Orchid Digest)
Chris Purver (Curator, Eric Young Orchid Foundation – Jersey, Channel Islands)
Plus a Presentation of the Latest
Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium Awards by the American Orchid Society

Continental Breakfasts • Lunch • Dinner • Auction
Show & Sales setup at 7:30am Saturday
Lectures starting at 9:00am

Gift Certificates for Best Species and Best Hybrid

Full Event Registration: $95
(Guests of full registrants may accompany registrants to the BBQ & Auction(only) for $35 each)
Registration Closes January 12, 2014

This event is sponsored by Orchid Digest

The Endangered White Egret Orchid

Habenaria radiata is a small terrestrial orchid that grows in grassy wetlands throughout Japan, the Korean Peninsula, Russia and some parts of eastern China.  It is commonly known as the White Egret Flower.  It is also sometimes referred to as the  Fringed Orchid or Sagiso.

This orchid’s flower indeed looks much like a Snowy Egret with its wings wide open.   Japan is home to many snowy egrets and they often share the same habitats with this little flower.   This rare orchid has recently gained recognition around the world for its beauty, but ironically this species is now considered imperiled in the wild.

The leaves are similar to grass blades, between 5-20 cm long, and about 1 cm wide each. New leaves form every spring. Flowering commences in late July and peaks in August.  The flower stalk holds anywhere from 1 to 8 flowers, each being around 4 cm wide.  The lip, as well as the petals,  are pristine white, whereas the sepals are small and greenish.

whte.egret.orchid.sm.pot.imageThe plant grows from a small underground tuber, no more than a couple centimeters long,  Because this plant is deciduous the tuber serves as an energy source early in its growth cycle, allowing new leaves and a flower spike to form.

This species is in rapid decline over its entire range.  Over collection may be a contributing factor, but for the most part the loss has been due to habitat destruction.  In the distant past these plants grew in lowland bogs and marshes in the same areas where rice patties were later situated.   Rice cultivation rapidly increased, taking more and more of the unique habitat, which was then followed by urbanization, and in lowland areas this species became more and more rare in the wild.

Nowadays, Habenaria radiata exists mostly in upland bogs and seepage slopes in moderate to high mountains (over 500 meters elevation).  Because these areas are not considered suitable for agriculture this plant (along with other rare plants) has found its last remaining habitat in modern Japan.  While it still can be found on all of Japan’s main islands it is endangered throughout its entire range and is completely gone in some areas.

Most experienced orchid growers find it quite difficult to keep for more than a season or two.  This orchid requires conditions not easily duplicated outside it’s natural environment.   Because this orchid is endangered  one would hope that orchid growers would recognize the need to stop collecting them from the wild so we can keep as many of them alive in their native environments.    We should be grateful we can enjoy these orchids vicariously through photographs, and hope we can preserve these unique and beautiful orchids for generations to come.