Take an Orchid Vacation

Posted April 15th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Misc, Orchids in the Wild

Wouldn’t it be great to take an orchid vacation? The Orchid Conservation Alliance (OCA) regularly sponsors trips to exotic lands with experts who guide orchid tours. These trips feature orchids in their native habitats, and raise money for conservation projects. Tours are limited to 15 people maximum. Future trips include Yunnan, China in May, and Colombia’s Northern Andes in November. More are planned for Madagascar, Brazil, Peru, and Costa Rica.

The OCA is a fantastic non-profit organization worthy of support. Learn more about taking an orchid vacation. You can also help the OCA by becoming a member.

How To Say Coelogyne

Posted April 10th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Fragrant Orchids, Growing, Photos, Watering

Coelogyne corymbosa, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne usitana, orchid species flower hanging at the bottom of a zig-zag flower spike, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne lawrenceana 'Encinal Warrior' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, California

Fortunately, Coelogyne orchids are easier to grow than they are to pronounce. This glorious genus of orchids originates in Southeast Asia, in a large area stretching from India and China to Indonesia, New Guinea, the Philippines, and Fiji. Many varieties have tumbling cascades of fragrant blooms. Their brilliantly-colored flower lips often feature weird ridges and frills. These photos represent less than a dozen of over 200 Coelogyne species.

Coelogyne cristata, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne pandurata, orchid species flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne xyrekes, orchid species flower, close up of flower lip, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Coelogyne speciosa, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne pulverula, orchid species flowers, Kew Gardens, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKCoelogyne massangeana, orchid species flowers, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

To pronounce Coelogyne, say “see-LODGE-in-ee.” Their wide range spans different habitats, and there are varieties for warm, intermediate, and cool conditions. Many which come from the Himalayas grow well as outdoor plants in the SF Bay Area, and other cool, foggy climates. The flower in the final photo below belongs to a Coelogyne mooreana plant which has reliably bloomed outdoors for me for over a decade. Its perfumed flowers last more than a month. (The other photos are from orchid shows and botanical gardens.)

Coelogyne lawrenceana 'Encinal Warrior' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, close up of flower lip, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne fimbriata, orchid species flowers, Orchids in the Park 2012, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne mooreana, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in San Francisco, California

Coelogynes need regular waterings during spring and summer. Give them bright light, including some morning sun. They enjoy regular fertilizer, high humidity, and good air movement. Warm growers do not have a dormant season, but water should be reduced for cool and intermediate growers over winter. These impressive orchids will inspire you to have Coelogyne rolling off your tongue.

Vanilla Fever in Madagascar

Posted April 5th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Warm Growers

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian details the problems of soaring vanilla prices in Madagascar. Vanilla is the orchid that we all love to eat, and the cost of vanilla beans has been rising for years. Droughts and cyclones have contributed to increases. But what might be a boon for the economy also brings a lot of danger. One farmer explains that “The higher the price of vanilla, the earlier in the year the robbers come to tear the pods off the vine.” Farmers are often robbed, and sometimes even killed for their crop.

As it’s grown more expensive, vanilla has become tied to other illicit activities as well. The beans are used for money laundering in the illegal rosewood trade, and vanilla farming contributes to deforestation. Speculators hoard beans to await higher prices. Read more about Madagascar’s problems in a separate article in The Guardian.

April Orchid Shows

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

April is a busy month for orchids, with major events in London, Dublin, Singapore, Philly, Toronto, Capetown and many more. Of course, bigger isn’t always better. I’m guessing that the orchids & chocolate show in little La Capelle, France would be deliciously fantastic, too.

April 5 – 7
London Orchid Show & Plant Fair, RHS Halls, 80 Vincent Square, Westminster, London, UK
April 6 – 7
Sunshine Coast Orchid Society Autumn Show, Uniting Church Hall, Queen & Ulm Sts., Caloundra, Queensland, Australia
April 6 – 8
Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society International Show & Sale, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, Pennsylvania
April 6 – 8
Santa Clara Valley Orchid Society Show & Sale, Westgate Shopping Mall, 1600 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, California
April 6 – 8
Deep South Orchid Society Show & Sale, Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, 2 Canebrake Rd., Savannah, Georgia
April 6 – 8
Orchid Society of Alberta Show & Sale, Enjoy Centre, 101 Riel Dr., St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
April 6 – 8
Cape Orchid Society Autumn Show, Richard Crowie Hall, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Rhodes Dr., Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
April 6 – 8
Les Journées de l‘Orchidée, Salle Polyvalente, 6 Rue Aunes, Villeneuve Sur Bellot, France
April 6 – 8
Exposição Nacional de Orquideas de Santo André, Rua Guarani, 129, Vila Valparaíso, Santo André, São Paulo, Brazil
April 6 – 8
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Franca, Ginásio Champagnat, Rua Cap. Zéca de Paula, Franca, São Paulo, Brazil

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There Are Always More Moth Orchids

Posted March 28th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos, Warm Growers

Moth Orchid hybrid flowers, Phalaenopsis, Phal, peloric orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMoth Orchid hybrid flower, Phalaenopsis, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMoth Orchid hybrid flower, Phalaenopsis, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Phalaenopsis Jia Ho Summer Love, Phal, Moth Orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMoth Orchid hybrid flower, Phalaenopsis, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMoth Orchid hybrid flower, Phalaenopsis, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Moth Orchids are one of the most popular houseplants in the world, and there’s a steady stream of new varieties. These photos highlight some of the latest hybrid trends. Many feature new patterns or color mixes. Others are bigger, rounder, and flatter. Miniatures are smaller than ever, and harlequins continue to flaunt their artistry. Some unusual types result from genetic mutations. Known as “pelorics,” their petals mutate to look like the flower lip, or vice versa. The very first photo and very last photo in this post are pelorics.

Moth Orchid hybrid flower, Phalaenopsis, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Liu's Cute Angel, Phal, miniature Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMoth Orchid hybrid flower, Phalaenopsis, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Phalaenopsis, Phal, Moth Orchids, Orchids in the Park 2017, orchid vendor display, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Anna_Larati Soekardi 'Wilson', Phal, miniature Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis I-Hsin Venus 'Kaleidoscope', Phal, Moth Orchid hybrid, peloric orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

These pictures are from last month’s Pacific Orchid Expo and last summer’s Orchids in the Park, both in San Francisco. As new hybrids emerge, and fashions change, expect that there will always be more Moth Orchids.

Fragrant Foxtail Orchids

Posted March 25th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Fragrant Orchids, Videos, Warm Growers

Check out the video below to immerse yourself in tropical orchid splendor. Foxtail Orchids earn their name from their bushy clusters of flowers. They’re also known for their sweet scents. Having savored the strong perfume of a single plant in bloom, I can’t imagine how powerful the fragrance must be in the Vietnamese garden in this video. Foxtail Orchids are Vanda relatives which belong to the Rhynchostylis genus, and come in white, and many shades of pink and magenta.

Orchids for the Equinox

Posted March 20th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Vanda orchid flowers with Cymbidium leaves in background, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaAnguloa cliftonii, orchid species flower close up, Tulip Orchid, Cradle Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaFredclarkeara x Catasetum hybrid orchid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Spathoglottis kimballiana, orchid species flower, yellow flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLaelia Santa Barbara Sunset 'Showtime', orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaGongora truncata, orchid species flower, weird flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Welcome today’s spring equinox with more photos from the recent Pacific Orchid Expo. Northern California has been greeted with a chilly rain to mark the day. Our rainy season was late this winter, but began in earnest a few weeks ago. It should be enough to keep our multi-year drought at bay. Of course, it’s best to always treat clean water as a precious resource, even in years when there’s plenty of precipitation. Enjoy the blooms.

Dracula nosferatu, orchid species flower close up, Pleurothallid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium speciosum, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaClowesetum x Catasetum hybrid, orchid hybrid flower with fringed lip, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Dendrobium unicum, orchid species flower, orange flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLeptotes bicolor, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPleurothallis truncata, orchid species flowers, tiny orange flowers and leaves, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Fermilab Plants Rare Native Orchids

Posted March 18th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Cool Growers, In the News

What do rare orchids and particle physics have in common? The folks at Fermilab are in the business of subatomic discoveries, but they’re also part of a project to restore native prairie. On their campus outside of Chicago, they’ve been bringing back native plants like the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid. This species is endangered throughout its range in Canada and the USA. Fermilab ecologists have recreated its wet prairie habitat, removed invasive species, and started planting the rare orchids. With continued care, they hope to reestablish a healthy ecosystem on their grounds. It should be a great boost for the prospects of the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid.

Why the Conservation of Orchids Is No Simple Matter

Posted March 12th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

The Smithsonian illustrates why orchid conservation is tricky. Orchid seeds require a symbiotic fungus to grow, so saving seeds isn’t enough. Experts need to understand each orchid species’ relation to its essential fungi. “First you have to find the fungus,” says Smithsonian botanist Melissa McCormick, “then you have to figure out what it is, and what it needs to survive, which is of course, what the orchid needs to survive.” In addition, scientists have to study growing conditions and pollinator relationships. Read more about the challenges and successes of orchid conservation, and enjoy great orchid photos, at Smithsonian.com.

More Photos from the Pacific Orchid Expo

Posted March 8th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Dracula Maltese Falcon 'Bogey', black orchid flower, pleurothallid, hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaRodrumnia Helmut Rohrl 'Sunstroke', orchid hybrid flowers, equitant Oncidium, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLycaste skinneri var. alba, orchid species flowers, white flowers, Monja Blanca, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Vanda orchid plants in plastic baskets hanging on a wall, orchid roots and flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPacific Orchid Expo 2018 display with over a dozen orchids in bloom, Moth Orchids, Lady Slippers, Cymbidiums, Renanthera, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda coerulescens 'Sky Baby', orchid species flowers, blue orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

There aren’t enough superlatives to do justice to the Pacific Orchid Expo. These photos, and those in the first post, are just a drop in the bucket of the plants that recently adorned the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Every year, the show features extravagant colors, rich perfumes, and fascinating orchid diversity. With award-winning flowers and elaborate displays, it’s a brilliant orchid spectacle. Enjoy the pictures.

Dendrobium tobaense var. giganteum, orchid species flower with bizarre flower lip, close up of flower lip, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda falcata orchids displayed in traditional Japanese flowerpots, Neofinetia falcata, Samurai Orchid, miniature orchids, variegated leaves, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium cuthbertsonii, orchid species flowers with moss, miniature orchids, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Pacific Orchid Expo 2018 vendor area, Moth Orchids, Vandas, Cymbidiums, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium teretifolium, orchid species flower close-up, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium Warragul x Zip, orchid hybrid flowers, Australian Dendrobiums, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California