Orchids for the Equinox

Posted September 22nd, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Phragmipedium Hanne Popow, orchid hybrid flower, Lady Slipper, Phrag, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpicattleya Fascination, orchid hybrid flower, cattleya, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaSchomburgkia exaltata, AKA Myrmecophila exaltata, orchid species flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, San Francisco, California

Habenaria xanthochila, orchid species flower, yellow flower, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda Charm, AKA Darwinara Charm, purple flower, orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaPotinara Red Crab 'Kuau Miau' AM/AOS, cattleya orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, California

Enjoy these amazing orchids for today’s equinox. Autumn is usually the warmest time of year for us on the Northern California coast. The fog pulls back, and we can finally bask in the sun that’s been baking everyone else. Last year, that meant record-breaking heatwaves in September. This year, so far, it’s been milder. We can enjoy the pleasant weather as we pass the point of equal day and equal night, and the planet spirals on.

Bulbophyllum flowers, AKA Cirrhopetalum, unusual flowers, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium kingianum 'Beni Otome', orchid species flower, fragrant flower, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum orchid flower, Lady Slipper, Paph, Orchids in the Park 2016, San Francisco, California

Masdevallia orchid flower, orange and red flower, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium Fan Dancer, orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium orchid flowers, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, California

Vanilla Could Spice Up Florida Agriculture

Posted September 17th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Warm Growers

Now that vanilla beans cost as much as silver, the world’s most delicious orchid is in the news a lot, and scientists are investigating the possibilities of vanilla farms in South Florida. Since vanilla is a vine that climbs trees, it could be “co-cropped” in avocado, citrus, or nut orchards. Farmers could harvest the beans without need for any more land. It’s also an opportunity to do much-needed research into Florida’s endangered native vanilla species. These are not used for agriculture, but might be hybridized with edible vanilla to create new flavor profiles and better hardiness. It will require many years before research makes it a viable crop, but Florida farms may someday be harvesting vanilla.

Tiny Flowers at Orchids in the Park

Posted September 12th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Mini Orchids, Photos

Trichoceros species from Peru, orchid species flower, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaNeofinetia falcata 'Kouyou', Vanda falcata, purple orchid flowers, Furan orchids, Fukiran, Samurai Orchids, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum mirum, orchid species flower, weird flower, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Big flowers get more attention, but don’t overlook the little ones. They may be tiny, or downright tough to see, but small orchid flowers are just as intricate and fascinating as showier blooms. These photos from July’s Orchids in the Park event highlight a few of their marvels.

Dendrobium dichaeoides, orchid species flowers and leaves, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaStenoglottis macloughlinii, AKA Stenoglottis woodii, orchid species flowers, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPolystachya paniculata, orchid species flowers, small flowers, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Dave’s and my cameras can compensate a lot for tiny blossoms and farsighted eyes. Often, I don’t see flower details until later, when I’m looking at large digital images on my computer. Small blooms can come from big plants, but most are mini orchids, like the three Pleurothallids in the next row of photos.

Pleurothallopsis monetalis, orchid species flower, Pleurothallid, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia polysticta, orchid species flower, Pleurothallid, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPorroglossum nutibara, orchid species flower, Pleurothallid, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

See more photos from Orchids in the Park, with big and small flowers, in my previous posts here and here. Below, the final row of pictures shows three color variations of Dendrobium cuthbertsonii, a charming miniature that comes in many brilliant hues. This cool grower boasts blooms over an inch (2.5 cm) which dwarf its tiny leaves. No matter how little, it’s tough to overlook these gems.

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii, orchid species flowers and leaves, pink flowers, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium cuthbertsonii, orchid species flowers and leaves, orange flowers, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium cuthbertsonii, orchid species flower, pink and whiteflower, miniature orchid, Orchids in the Park 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Fighting the Vanilla Thieves of Madagascar

Posted September 6th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

Vanilla has been in the news a lot lately, with skyrocketing prices contributing to crime problems in Madagascar. The BBC delves into the story, and explains what happens when vanilla costs almost as much as silver.

September Orchid Shows

Posted September 1st, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

September brings busy orchid show schedules around the world, especially in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Can’t find a show near you? Check with your local orchid society for more info.

September 1
Alfred County Orchid Society Spring Display, Hibiscus Mall, 19 Wartski Dr., Margate, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
September 1
Redlands Orchid Society Spring Charity Show, Donald Simpson Centre, 172 Bloomfield St., Cleveland, Queensland, Australia
September 1
Bourse d’Orchidées, Plan Incliné de Ronquières, Route Baccara 1W, Ronquières, Belgium
September 1 – 2
Highway Orchid Society Show, Kloof Town Hall, 31 Old Main Rd., Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
September 1 – 2
Welsh Orchid Festival, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, South Wales, UK
September 1 – 2
Sale and District Orchid Society Spring Show, VRI Hall, Sale, Victoria, Australia
September 1 – 2
Shoalhaven Orchid Society Show, Bomaderry Bowling Club, 154 Meroo Rd., Bomaderry, NSW, Australia
September 1 – 2
Berliner Staudenmarkt im Botanischen Garten, Garten Berlin Dahlem, Unter Den Eichen 5, Berlin, Germany
September 1 – 3
Kempsey Speciosum Spectacular & Australasian Orchid Species & Hybrid Show, Macleay Valley Motor Cycle Track, Alverton St., Greenhill, NSW, Australia
September 2
Durham Orchid Show, Josephine Butler College, Durham Univ., South Rd., Durham, UK

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Big, Beautiful Vanda Orchids

Posted August 26th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Warm Growers, Watering

Vanda Robert's Delight 'Garnet Beauty' FCC/AOS, orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda orchid flower, Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, London, UKVanda Pachara Delight, orchid hybrid flowers and leaves, Pacific Orchid Expo 2017, San Francisco, California

Vandas are orchid royalty. These popular tropical beauties have big, round, colorful, long-lasting flowers. Called strap-leaf Vandas, they are best known in the tropics. In places like Hawaii, it’s easy for growers to accommodate these large plants with long roots and high light needs by tying them onto a tree. Outside the tropics, they’re tougher to grow.

Vanda coerulea v. compacta, orchid species flower, blue and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaVascostylis Roll on Red x Vanda denisoniana, orchid hybrid flowers, Orchids in the Park 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda plants showing leaves roots and flowers in small plastic baskets, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, San Francisco, California

Their rainbow of colors includes blue, which is a rare orchid hue. They’re native to a vast area from India through South China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Philippines, and northern Australia. The name Vanda comes from the Sanskrit name of Vanda tessellata, a species native to India and Southeast Asia.

Vanda sanderiana alba, orchid species flowers, Orchids in the Park 2013, , San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda orchid flowers, Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, London, UKVanda Rothschildiana, orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2011, San Francisco, California

Ascofinetia Peachy, orchid hybrid flowers, Vanda, grown indoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda orchid flowers and leaves, Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, London, UKVanda orchid plant hanging in greenhouse, Vanda leaves, OrchidMania, San Francisco, California

Many varieties can grow into large plants. Vandas need morning sun, warmth, frequent waterings, fertilizer, and high humidity. They dislike being potted at all, so they’re often kept in small wooden or plastic baskets, without any potting media, simply to anchor the roots. Most are warm growers, but there are some intermediate types, also. Hybrids are usually more temperature tolerant.

As with all orchids, diversity is the rule. There are strap-leaf Vandas which don’t share the big, round, flat flower shape. Many hybrids have been created with related species. Some smaller varieties include a genus like Neofinetia or Ascocentrum in their names. Home growers without a greenhouse can fit these more compact plants on a windowsill. Large or small, Vandas bring tropical beauty wherever they grow.

Summer Sale Benefits Orchid Conservation Alliance

Posted August 19th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco

Would you buy a beautiful orchid to support a great conservation group? Head to San Mateo, California on Saturday, August 25th for a sale benefiting the Orchid Conservation Alliance (OCA.) Some of the Bay Area’s most talented growers are donating plants to help the superb work of the OCA. If you can’t make it to San Mateo, you can support the OCA by becoming a member, shopping at their store, or joining one of their orchid vacations.

Yes, There Are Orchids in Iceland

Posted August 13th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Fragrant Orchids, Orchids in the Wild, Photos

Dactylorhiza maculata, orchid species flowers, Heath Spotted Orchid, Moorland Spotted Orchid, white and purple flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southrn Iceland, July 2018Dactylorhiza maculata, orchid species flowers, Heath Spotted Orchid, Moorland Spotted Orchid, white and purple flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018Dactylorhiza maculata, close-up of orchid species flowers, Heath Spotted Orchid, Moorland Spotted Orchid, white and purple flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018

In a chilly, windy July rain, near a trail with a long name, in between glaciers with longer names, orchids bloom in southern Iceland. Orchids near the Arctic Circle? In fact, orchids live just about everywhere on earth, including Iceland, which is home to seven native species. Two of them are shown here. The Heath Spotted Orchid has purple and white flowers, and the Vanilla Scented Bog Orchid has yellow flowers. My amazing mother-in-law Brenda took these great photos during a recent hiking tour in Iceland.

Dactylorhiza maculata, orchid species flowers, Heath Spotted Orchid, Moorland Spotted Orchid, white and purple flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018Dactylorhiza maculata, orchid species flowers, Heath Spotted Orchid, Moorland Spotted Orchid, white and purple flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018Habitat of Dactylorhiza maculata, orchid species flowers, Heath Spotted Orchid, Moorland Spotted Orchid, white and purple flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018

Two rows of photos above show the Heath Spotted Orchid, a terrestrial found in damp areas in Iceland, throughout Europe, and even into Siberia. The first row of photos shows one plant, and the second row shows another. Look closely to see how the purple spots and patches differ between the two, which happens a lot in this variable species.

The third row of photos below shows a Vanilla Scented Bog Orchid.  This species is native to eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, northern Europe, and northern Russia. It’s reputed to have a sweet scent, and it also grows in cool, damp areas.

Pseudorchis albida subspecies straminea, orchid species flowers, Vanilla Scented Bog Orchid, greenish white flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018Pseudorchis albida subspecies straminea, orchid species flowers, Vanilla Scented Bog Orchid, greenish white flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018Pseudorchis albida subspecies straminea, close-up of orchid species flowers, Vanilla Scented Bog Orchid, greenish white flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018

Habitat for Pseudorchis albida subspecies straminea, orchid species flowers, Vanilla Scented Bog Orchid, greenish white flowers, terrestrial orchid, Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail, Fimmvorduhals Trail, southern Iceland, July 2018Coeloglossum viride, Frog Orchid, orchid species illustration and distribution map in Iceland, orchid name shown in Icelandic Latin English and GermanPlatanthera hyperborea, Northern Green Orchid, orchid species illustration and distribution map in Iceland, orchid name shown in Icelandic Latin English and German

The final row of photos shows another orchid habitat view, and then two guide illustrations of other Icelandic species, the Frog Orchid and the Northern Green Orchid. All of these remarkable plants are the tough polar cousins of the tropical ones we know better. Whatever they lack in size or glamour, their ability to survive in a cold, harsh climate marks Icelandic orchids as true stars of the flower world. Photos courtesy of Brenda Hogue.

Rare Australian Orchids Thrive Despite Harsh, Dry Winter

Posted August 8th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Orchids in the Wild

Western Australia’s south coast is suffering through an exceptionally dry winter, but some rare native orchids are thriving anyway. Local orchid lovers are finding Queen of Sheba Orchids and other fascinating Australian natives despite the drought. With underground tubers to store water, these little terrestrials can handle some adversity. Orchid enthusiast Robert Tozer noted “Only about a week or so ago I found these little Dark Banded Greenhoods growing on ground I would compare to a concrete floor. It was rock hard and yet this little orchid has come up and is still flowering. They are pretty solid and pretty resilient.”

August Orchid Shows

Posted August 1st, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

From Auckland to Zululand, there are orchid shows, festivals, fairs, auctions, extravaganzas, and spectaculars. Go to any one of them and enjoy gorgeous flowers.

August 1
Santa Clara Valley Orchid Society Fall Auction, American Legion Hall, 1504 Minnesota Ave., San Jose, California
August 3
Stawell Orchid Society Winter Show, Entertainment Centre, Main St., Stawell, Victoria, Australia
August 3 – 4
South West Orchid Society – Taunton Flower Show, Vivary Park, Taunton, Somerset, UK
August 3 – 5
National Orchid Extravaganza, The Centre, 1 Pellitt Ln., Dural, NSW, Australia
August 3 – 5
Manly Warringah Orchid Society Show, Dee Why RSL Club, Pittwater Rd., Dee Why, NSW, Australia
August 3 – 5
Festival de Orquídeas e Plantas Ornamentais de São Roque, Recanto da Cascata, Av. Antonio Maria Picena, 34, São Roque, São Paulo, Brazil
August 3 – 5
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Penápolis, Ginásio de Esportes Dr. Nagib Sabino, Penápolis, São Paulo, Brazil
August 3 – 5
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Lagoa Santa, Colégio M2, Rua Vereador Ildeu Viana Matos, 273, Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brazil
August 3 – 5
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Varginha, Corredor Cultural, Praça Matheus Tavares, Centro, Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil
August 4
CSA New Zealand Show, Western Springs Garden Community Hall, 956-990 Great North Rd., Pt. Chevalier, Auckland, New Zealand

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