More Wonders of the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Posted June 21st, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Rhododendron occidentale, California Azalea, Western Azalea, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaBee on purple flowers, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaRedwood grove, redwood trees and ferns, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Protea flower, large red flower, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMonkey Puzzle Tree, Araucaria araucana, Chile Pine, piñonero, South American tree species with pointed triangular leaves, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLeucospermum erubescens, Oudtshoorn Pincushion, large unusual flower, red orange and yellow flower, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Celebrate today’s summer solstice with more photos from our recent visit to San Francisco Botanical Garden. I already blogged about three of the most amazing plants we saw, but of course, the rest of the gardens are stunning, too. There were California natives, like a gorgeous California Azalea, and giant Coast Redwood Trees. South African Protea and Leucospermum flowers resembled Dr. Seuss creations, as did the pointy, South American Monkey Puzzle Trees. A young leaf, which looks like an alien hand, emerged from an enormous Gunnera.

Chilean rhubarb, Gunnera tinctoria, young leaf unfurling which looks like a closed hand, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCamellia flower and leaves, red and white flower, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaStrybing Arboretum, McBean Wildfowl Pond, pond surrounded by trees and shrubs, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Cineraria flowers, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaStrybing Arboretum, large trees, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaWhite wisteria flowers hanging in a wooden arbor, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re starting summer with a heat wave. Even on the coast, where fog and ocean breezes usually moderate the temperature, we were above 86°F (30°C) before noon this morning. Hello summer.

Protect Ecuador’s Valley of Orchids

Posted June 18th, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

The Rainforest Trust and the Orchid Conservation Alliance (OCA) are working hard to save endangered orchids. Both groups are trying to raise emergency funds to purchase properties next to Ecuador’s Dracula Reserve. New mining activities are destroying nearby rainforests and threatening the entire area, which is a biodiversity hotspot. This Valley of Orchids is home to hundreds of orchid species, and there are frequently more discoveries. Nearby property owners want to sell their land to these conservation groups, rather than the miners, but time is of the essence. Please donate to the Rainforest Trust and the OCA if you can. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. A large donation to the OCA allows the donor to pick a name for a newly-identified orchid.

Wonders of the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Posted June 14th, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Puya alpestris, Chilean Rock Bromeliad, Sapphire Tower, metallic blue flowers with orange pollen, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPuya alpestris, Chilean Rock Bromeliad, Sapphire Tower, tall flower spike with metallic blue flowers with orange pollen, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPuya alpestris, Chilean Rock Bromeliad, Sapphire Tower, metallic blue flowers with orange pollen, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

San Francisco Botanical Garden, also known as Strybing Arboretum, is full of wonders. Whenever we go, Dave and I always expect to enjoy lush growth and plentiful blooms. But on a recent visit, it seems the gardens went above and beyond their usual magic. There weren’t any orchids, but we were astounded by some stunning plants. Three of them are highlighted here. The first row of photos above shows the amazing metallic-blue flowers of the Sapphire Tower, or Chilean Rock Bromeliad, Puya alpestris. The tall, colorful spikes held the flowers right in front of us, at perfect photographing height. I’ve seen Puya blooms before, such as this one from the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, but these were much more striking.

Monkey's Hand Tree, Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, árbol de las manitas, weird hand-shaped red and yellow flower, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMonkey's Hand Tree, Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, árbol de las manitas, weird hand-shaped red and yellow flower, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMonkey's Hand Tree, Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, árbol de las manitas, weird hand-shaped red and yellow flower, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

In the second row, there are bizarre blooms from a Monkey’s Hand Tree. The species is native to Guatemala and southern Mexico. This specimen grows arched over a pathway in Strybing’s Succulent Garden. I’d never seen the tree in bloom before. The large, red flowers are certainly fascinating and weird.

Sequoia sempervirens, Coastal Redwood albino form, very rare albino redwood, white redwood tree leaves, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaSequoia sempervirens, Coastal Redwood albino form, very rare albino redwood, white redwood tree leaves alongside regular green leaves, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaSequoia sempervirens, Coastal Redwood albino form, very rare albino redwood, white redwood tree leaves alongside regular green leaves, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

The third row of photos can’t compare in color to the first two, but it shows quite an oddity: a very rare albino redwood. Few of these mutants are known to exist, but there’s one in Strybing’s Redwood Grove. The white leaves can’t photosynthesize, so they must grow attached to a parent tree with green needles. These were growing as small suckers at the base of a large tree. Unfortunately, I suspect that some visitors were plucking them. It’s possible that these ghostly plants help their parent plant to filter toxic heavy metals. They’re just a few of San Francisco Botanical Garden’s marvels.

Spate of Orchid Thefts in England Puts Rare Species at Risk

Posted June 7th, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

Orchid thieves have been busy in the UK, destroying native species in the process. Burnt-tip Orchids and Late Spider Orchids are both rare and endangered in England. Dozens of them have gone missing. Orchid experts believe that the plants may have been “stolen to order” by foolish and selfish orchid collectors, who don’t care about the damage they’re causing. The stolen species will likely die after being dug up and replanted.

Other orchids are already extinct or highly endangered in the UK because of habitat destruction and illegal poaching. True orchid lovers don’t steal plants from the wild and threaten rare species. Never take flowers or plants from the wild, or buy plants which have been removed from the wild. Use caution when photographing plants, and remove location data when posting photos on social media.

June Orchid Events

Posted June 1st, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events

As more in-person orchid events return, it’s also nice to see online events continuing. For example, this year’s Orchid Digest Speakers Day allows for both in-person and virtual attendance, so people can attend from anywhere in the world. Stay safe at in-person events by wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

June 3 – 5
New Orleans Orchid Society Show & Sale, Lakeside Mall, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, Loiusiana
June 3 – 5
Exposição International de Orquídeas de Coimbra, Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas, Coimbra, Portugal
June 4
Atlanta Orchid Society Auction, Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church, 3016 Lanier Dr. NE, Brookhaven, Georgia
June 4
North of England Orchid Society Monthly Meeting & Show, Hoghton Village Hall, Blackburn Old Rd., Preston, UK
June 5
Sheffield & District Orchid Society Show, St. John’s Church Hall, Abbeydale Rd. South, Sheffield, UK
June 11
Orchid Digest Speakers Day, in-person or virtual attendance, Huntington Library & Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, California
June 11 – 12
South Australian Orchid Fair, Campbelltown Function Centre, 172 Montacute Rd., Rostrevor, South Australia, Australia
June 11 – 12
Melbourne Eastern Orchid Society Winter Show, Burwood Heights Uniting Church, 347 Blackburn Rd., Burwood East, Victoria, Australia
June 11 – 12
Camden Haven Orchid Society Show, Laurieton United Services Club, Seymour St., Laurieton, NSW, Australia
June 11 – 12
Great Lakes Orchid Society Show, Forster Primary School, Head St., Forster, NSW, Australia

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More Photos from the Peninsula Orchid Society Show

Posted May 28th, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Brassolaeliocattleya Mahina Yahiro 'Julie', Cattleya orchid hybrid flowers, white pink and yellow flowers with frilly lips, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis, Moth Orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, yellow and white flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaPhragmipedium boissierianum x kovachii, Lady Slipper orchid hybrid flower, Phrag, large flower with curled petals, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, California

Masdevallia veitchiana, orchid species flower, bright orange flower, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaCattleya intermedia, orchid species flowers, purple and white flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaPromenaea xanthina, orchid species flower, yellow and maroon flower, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, California

The recent Peninsula Orchid Society Show had plenty of great flowers. In addition to my earlier post, here are more photos to enjoy. This small event featured displays of extraordinary species and the latest hybrids. The species included the always-impressive, brilliant orange Masdevallia veitchiana, two tables full of purple and white Cattleya intermedia, and sunny yellow Promeneas. Among the hybrids, there were Moth Orchids with an innovative yellow and white pattern, and a large, stunning Phragmipedium kovachii hybrid with twisty petals. The diversity of the vast orchid family was well represented.

Orchid display with Cattleyas and Laelias, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaOrchid display with Cymbidium, Sarcochilus, Cattleya and more, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaVanda Rothschildiana 'Moonstone', orchid hybrid flowers, white and green flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, California

Tolumnia Helmut Rohrl 'Red Hots' x 'Mega', orchid hybrid flowers, equitant oncidium, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaMystacidium Neil McCormick, orchid hybrid flowers, white flowers, miniature flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, CaliforniaSarcochilus, orchid hybrid flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show 2022, San Mateo, California

What’s in a Name: Indigenous Orchids of the Andes Mountains

Posted May 22nd, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Orchid Names

Orchids’ scientific names have often been chosen by people of European descent, even when those species are native to tropical Africa, Asia, Australia, or the Americas. However, many scientists are now paying overdue homage to these orchids’ native lands. Increasingly, they’re picking names to honor indigenous peoples, who may have had knowledge of these species for eons before they were scientifically discovered. For example, new names for orchids from the Andes have included Quechua words. Quechua is an indigenous American language spoken by the ancient Incas, and still spoken today by millions of people in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Argentina. There are five Quechua-inspired examples below, reflecting an increasing respect given to the language, its culture, and its people.

Masdevallia chuspipatae – named for the town of Chuspipata, Bolivia, chuspipata means “the top of a fly”

Telipogon antisuyuensisantisuyu means “region of the sunrise”

Telipogon phuyupatamarcensis – named for Phuyupatamarca, an archaeological site in Peru, phuyupatamarca means “town above the clouds”

Telipogon kosñipatensisqusñipash means “smoky” or “through the smoke”

Quechua glabrescens – The name of the Quechua language has been given to this genus of orchids.

Peninsula Orchid Society Returns with a Great Show

Posted May 15th, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Cattleya mossiae v. semi-alba 'H&R', orchid species flowers, purple yellow and white flowers with other flowers in background, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaCymbidium goeringii 'Taiwan Native #101', orchid species flower, green white yellow and magenta flower, Noble Orchid, Japanese "Shun-ran", Chinese "Chun Lan", Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaDisa Issy Klein, orchid hybrid flowers, large orange yellow and white flowers, unusual flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, California

Rhyncattleanthe Olympus Sunset FCA, cattleya, orchid hybrid flowers, orange flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaTrichopilia tortilis, orchid species flower and leaves, twisted petals, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis cornu-cervi, orchid species flower, Moth Orchid flower under arching leaf, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, California
Last Sunday, the Peninsula Orchid Society Show returned to San Mateo, California, south of San Francisco. After being cancelled for two years because of the pandemic, this year’s original January date was also postponed. The show’s successful return featured plenty of gorgeous orchids, good vendors, and friendly faces. The impressive displays spotlighted Bay Area cool-growing favorites like Masdevallias and Cymbidiums, including traditionally-grown East Asian Cymbidiums. It was very obviously an optimal blooming time for Sarcochilus hybrids, and there were dozens of fascinating colors and patterns to compare. The last row of photos below highlights three of them.

Ansellia africana AM/AOS, orchid species flowers and buds, Leopard Orchid, large orchid, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea 'Leywood' AM/AOS, orchid hybrid flower, pleurothallid, large deep red flower, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum Windswept Laces, orchid hybrid flowers, Lady Slipper flowers, Paph, large flower, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, California

Sarcochilus (Kulnura Vibrance x Kulnura Dazzel) 'Woodside' CCM/AOS, orchid hybrid flowers, purple flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaSarcochilus Kulnura Famous '0417AG', orchid hybrid flowers, peloric flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaSarcochilus Red Hot Kiss, orchid hybrid flowers, spotted flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society Mother's Day Show, San Mateo, California

It’s a pleasure to see events like this returning. It’s also great to be reminded that small shows can present excellent displays. Last winter’s enormous Pacific Orchid Expo was on a grander scale, and truly spectacular, but smaller events are definitely worth your time, too. Check back soon for more pictures.

A Weird Coralroot Orchid Grows in Austin

Posted May 9th, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Orchids in the Wild, Photos

Corallorhiza orchid, Coralroot flowers and buds, yellow flowers and buds, flower spikes emerging from ground, growing wild in Austin, TexasCorallorhiza orchid, Coralroot flowers and buds, yellow flowers and buds, flower spikes emerging from ground, growing wild in Austin, TexasCorallorhiza orchid, Coralroot flowers and buds, yellow flowers and buds, growing wild in Austin, Texas
Thanks to AboutOrchids reader Margaret Barnett for these fascinating photos of a wild, native orchid growing in Austin, Texas. This may look like bright yellow asparagus, but it’s an orchid. Corallorhiza orchids are commonly called Coralroots due their thick, coral-shaped rhizomes. This specimen lives beneath an oak tree, hidden underground, until its strange flowers spring from the soil.

Corallorhiza orchid, Coralroot flowers and buds, yellow flowers and buds, growing wild in Austin, TexasCorallorhiza orchid, Coralroot flowers and buds, yellow flowers and buds, flower spikes emerging from ground, growing wild in Austin, TexasCorallorhiza orchid, Coralroot flowers and buds, yellow flowers and buds, flower spikes emerging from ground, growing wild in Austin, Texas

Coralroots are leafless, and don’t photosynthesize. Instead, they take nutrients from fungi in the ground, a relationship called myco-heterotrophy. This plant is an unusual yellow color variety. Its springtime bloom may belong to Corallorhiza wisteriana, the Spring Coralroot, or Corallorhiza striata, the Striped Coralroot. There are two other Coralroots native to Texas, but Corallorhiza maculata, the Spotted Coralroot, blooms in summer, and Corallorhiza odontorhiza, the Autumn Coralroot, in autumn. Whichever it is, it’s a marvelous reminder that the weird and wonderful orchid world is full of surprises. Photos courtesy of Margaret Barnett.

May Orchid Events

Posted May 1st, 2022 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events

From Australia to Brazil to France to the USA, many orchid events are happily returning after a two-year pause. Enjoy these shows and expos safely. Protect yourself and protect others by getting vaccinated and wearing masks.

May 4 – 8
Orquídeas de Primavera, Museo Franz Mayer, Av. Hidalgo 45, Centro Histórico, Ciudad de México, México
May 5 – 8
South Coast Orchid Club Show, Seaford Central, 108 Commercial Rd., Seaford, South Australia, Australia
May 6 – 8
Bundaberg Orchid Society Show, Civic Centre, Bourbong St., Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia
May 7
Oklahoma Orchid Society Spring Show & Sale, Will Rogers Gardens Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36th St., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
May 7
Orchid Society of Great Britain Spring Show, Halsey Hall, Halsey Hall, Rickmansworth Rd., Watford, Hertfordshire, UK
May 7
Devon Orchid Society Show, Public Hall, Station Rd., Budleigh Salterton, Devon, UK
May 7 – 8
Houston Orchid Society Show & Sale, Memorial City Mall, 303 Memorial City Way, Houston, Texas
May 7 – 8
Volusia County Orchid Society Show, Hester Building, Volusia County Fair Grounds, Route 44, DeLand, Florida
May 7 – 8
Orchidofolie, Le Montmartre, 1669 Chemin St.-Louis, Québec City, Québec, Canada
May 7 – June 12
World of Orchids, San Diego Botanic Garden, 300 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas, California

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