April Orchid Events Are Cancelled

Posted April 1st, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Videos

For many years, I’ve done my best each month to assemble listings for orchid events around the world. This month, sadly, I need to say that if there are any shows, auctions, or conferences still happening, you shouldn’t go. Shelter at home to help stop the spread of COVID19. Use the time to care for your plants and connect virtually with other orchid lovers. Visit AboutOrchids.com for pretty pictures and as a break from bad news. I don’t know when we’ll be able to revel in the magic of orchid shows again, but right now the priority is to protect lives. There are already many orchid resources, and people are creating ideas for orchid lovers to connect virtually. For example, there’s a call to make April 4th a “Global Virtual Orchid Show” with the hashtag #GVOS2020. Everybody can post a photo of one of their orchids in bloom across all social media. I’ve also seen the hashtag #VirtualOrchidShow being used.

And for a lovely slice of paradise, enjoy this guided video tour of the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show. Unfortunately, this exhibit had to shut down early, but you can safely immerse yourself in glasshouses full of amazing orchids in the video below.

The Delights of Orchids Indoors

Posted March 29th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Fragrant Orchids, Intermediate Growers, Mini Orchids, Photos, Warm Growers

Mexicoa ghiesbreghtiana, AKA Oncidium ghiesbreghtianum, orchid species flower, bright yellow and reddish-brown flower, fragrant flower, Mexican orchid species, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMexicoa ghiesbreghtiana, AKA Oncidium ghiesbreghtianum, orchid species flower, bright yellow and reddish-brown flower, fragrant flower, Mexican orchid species, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMexicoa ghiesbreghtiana, AKA Oncidium ghiesbreghtianum, orchid species flower, bright yellow and reddish-brown flower, fragrant flower, Mexican orchid species, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

As we continue to shelter at home, it really helps to be surrounded by our indoor orchids. A few of my plants have been putting on great spring shows. The Mexicoa species in the first row of photos above has already been blooming for two months. Now, it’s put out five new spikes of brilliant yellow flowers. They have a great lemony scent.

Maxillaria tenuifolia, Coconut Orchid, orchid species flower, fragrant flower, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMaxillaria tenuifolia, Coconut Orchid, orchid species flower, fragrant flower, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMaxillaria tenuifolia, Coconut Orchid, orchid species flower, fragrant flower, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

The Coconut Orchid, in the row of photos above, smells like coconut cream pie. I’ve had this same plant since 2003. This year, it’s sporting dozens of flowers. It’s a delightfully easy grower and reliable bloomer.

Leptotes pohlitinocoi, orchid species flower, Brazilian orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLeptotes pohlitinocoi, orchid species flower, Brazilian orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLeptotes pohlitinocoi, orchid species flowers, Brazilian orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

The Leptotes species in the third row of photos is not like the other orchids in this post. It’s a mini, it’s not fragrant, and it needs warmer temps than the rest, which are intermediate growers. I just bought it in bud at the recent Pacific Orchid Expo, and kept it happy enough that it bloomed a couple weeks later.

Brassia orchid, orchid hybrid flowers, Spider Orchid, large flowers, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaBrassia orchid, orchid hybrid flowers, Spider Orchid, large flowers, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaBrassia orchid, orchid hybrid flowers, Spider Orchid, large flowers, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

In the final row of photos, this aptly named Spider Orchid is a prolific bloomer. These big flowers, as tall as 15 inches (38 cm,) have a spicy fragrance. This hybrid was a great buy at a local grocery store a few years ago. It puts out enormous, long-lasting blossoms twice a year. They’re truly a joy.

A Brief History of China’s Wild Cymbidium Trade

Posted March 24th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

The IUCN Orchid Specialist Group reports on the history, cultural importance, and trade of China’s Cymbidiums. Recent studies focus on Sichuan Province in southwest China, one of the world’s botanical hotspots. It’s home to many orchids, including Cymbidiums. They’ve been important in Chinese culture for thousands of years, and ornamental varieties have been cultivated for a millenium. They were once so common in Sichuan that their sweet fragrances filled the mountain air. However, over the last few decades, increased harvesting of wild plants has threatened them with extinction. Fortunately, many buyers are turning to orchids grown in greenhouses rather than wild plants. It is hoped that China’s traditional reverence for Cymbidiums will help save these endangered species.

Sheltering at Home for the Spring Equinox

Posted March 19th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

Masdevallia figueroae, orchid species flower, pleurothallid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium Sweet Wine 'Latour', orchid hybrid flower, peloric flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum venustum 'Blatant', orchid species flower, Lady Slipper with spots stripes and veined flower pouch, Paph, variegated leaf, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Today is a spring equinox like no other. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have been sheltering at home for several days now as COVID-19 spreads. Dave and I are fine, and our two cats are getting spoiled since we’re home most of the time. Only essential businesses are still open. Roads that are typically jammed with traffic are eerily empty. Despite some over-hyped news stories, most people are following necessary restrictions. It reminds me of when I was here for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, not only because it’s upended our lives, but also because it’s brought out the best caring instincts in a lot of people.

Phragmipedium schlimii, orchid species flower, Lady Slipper, Phrag, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPleurothallis macrophylla, orchid species flowers, weird flowers, dark purplish-red and orange flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flower, peloric flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

This year, I have little excuse for my usual repotting procrastination. Spring is the best repotting time for most orchids, and I usually manage to get many, but not all, of mine done. Maybe I can also really tackle that persistent scale infestation on some of my indoor plants. For a while, I’ve managed it with mild insecticides, but I’m never been diligent enough to repeat every week to completely eliminate the pests. If you’re looking to fill your time while sheltering at home, check out the American Orchid Society’s tips for March and April orchid care. And enjoy these photos from our recent Pacific Orchid Expo to celebrate the equinox.

Dendrobium Matos, orchid hybrid flowers, yellow orange and red flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum centropetalum, AKA Oerstedella centradenia, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum Emerald Sea x In-Charm White, orchid hybrid flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, yellow and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

A Big Season for Cymbidium Orchids

Posted March 17th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Fragrant Orchids, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Cymbidium hybrid orchid flower, gold white and deep red flower, flower with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flower, green white and deep red flower, partially open flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flowers, white flowers and buds with water drops, many flowers on a spike, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidium hybrid orchid flowers, pink white yellow and reddish-purple flower, flowers with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium Green Zenith 4N x tracyanum 4N, hybrid orchid flower, gold white and deep red flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flowers, pink white yellow and reddish-purple flowers, flowers with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

The California coast is already a beautiful place, and Cymbidium orchids make it even better. Since we moved to Pacifica several years ago, we’ve acquired more of them. Dave occasionally brings a nice one home from the grocery store. Usually they bloom in different seasons, but this year they all decided to flower over the winter. For a little while, I had 10 plants in bloom at once.

Cymbidium hybrid orchid flower, yellow and white flower with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flower, white flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flower, pink white yellow and reddish-purple flower, flower with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidium hybrid orchid flower, green white and deep red flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flower, gold white and deep red flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flower, yellow and white flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidiums are great outdoor orchids for the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of our neighbors keep them in their gardens. Some hybrids may bloom more than once annually. Warmer growing varieties are available for those who don’t enjoy our cool nighttime temps, which they need to flower.

The final row of photos below features my favorite new Cymbidium. This is Cymbidium tracyanum, a species native to mountains in China, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. I received divisions from a friend last year when I helped her repot a large, old plant. I didn’t expect it to bloom so soon, but it’s gracing us with three spikes full of spectacular, fragrant, 5-inch (12.7 cm) wide flowers. It’s a superb harbinger of spring.

Cymbidium tracyanum, orchid species flower, purplish-red white and yellow flower with spots and stripes, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium tracyanum, orchid species flowers, purplish-red white and yellow flowers with spots and stripes, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium tracyanum, orchid species flowers, purplish-red white and yellow flowers with spots and stripes, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

New Zealand’s Ghost Orchid Hunter

Posted March 14th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Mini Orchids

New Zealand’s tiny Ghost Orchid isn’t easy to find. (Even though it shares a common name, it’s different from Florida’s famous Ghost Orchid of The Orchid Thief fame.) The New Zealand species is the only member of the Corybas genus that has stopped using photosynthesis. Instead, it lives off nutrients from fungi. Without chlorophyll, it’s not green, but brown. Botanist Carlos Lehnebach spent ten years searching before he found one. Now that he’s spotted it near Wellington, he’s hoping to understand the genetic changes which let it stop harnessing the sun’s energy. After all this time, Lehnebach still isn’t sure how rare it is. “It’s so difficult to find, it could be that the hills where I’ve been looking are full of it.”

More Photos from Pacific Orchid Expo 2020

Posted March 8th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Maxillaria fucata 'Stony Point', orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhragmipedium Peruflora's Spirit, orchid hybrid flower, Phrag, Lady Slipper, red and yellow flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLaelia Canariensis 'Golden Glow', orchid hybrid flower, yellow flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Cattleya coccinea, orchid species flowers on plant in wooden basket with red second place ribbon, orangish red flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium Virginia Reyes Carreon 'Woodside', orchid hybrid flowers, green red and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s annual Pacific Orchid Expo is full of botanical riches. There are plenty of novel hybrids, extraordinary species, and awards for the best among them. It’s the cream of the crop.

Vandachostylis Bibelot, orchid hybrid flower, blue and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPleurothallis cyanea, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium cuthbertsonii, orchid species flowers, pink and orange flowers, miniature orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Laeliocattleya Moonlight Madness 'Temptress', orchid hybrid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis hybrid flower, Phal, Moth Orchid, peloric flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya Sacramento Rose, orchid hybrid flowers, purple flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Add in more colors than any rainbow, and some rich perfumes, and it’s easy to see why orchid lovers are so hooked. It’s a shame that the Pacific Orchid Expo only comes around once a year.

Miltoniopsis Maui Fusion 'Pink Spider' x Harold Ripley 'Hansen', Pansy Orchid hybrid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum Hawaiian Volcano 'Dolcetto', Paph, Lady Slipper hybrid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia Tiger Kiss 'Zaia', orchid hybrid flower, pleurothallid, orange and red flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Buy First-Class Orchids at the Post Office

Posted March 3rd, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, In the News, Misc, Photos

You can now buy first-class orchids at the post office. The US Postal Service has just released 10 new stamps featuring wild orchids. All the species represented are native to the USA. My photos show both sides of a 20-stamp booklet and the cover image.

USPS wild orchid stamps, first-class forever stamps, native USA orchid species, 12 stamps of a 20-stamp booklet, Lady Slipper orchidsUSPS wild orchid stamps, first-class forever stamps, native USA orchid species, 8 stamps of a 20-stamp booklet, Lady Slipper orchidsThree Birds Orchid, Triphora trianthophoros, USPS wild orchid stamps, first-class forever stamps, native USA orchid species, stamp booklet cover image

There are nine orchid species depicted.

  • Three Birds Orchid, Triphora trianthophoros (shown in two images)
  • California Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium californicum
  • Crested Coralroot Orchid, Hexalectris spicata
  • Showy Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium reginae
  • Marsh Lady’s Tresses, Spiranthes odorata
  • Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea
  • Greater Purple Fringed Orchid, Platanthera grandiflora
  • Yellow Cowhorn Orchid, Cyrtopodium polyphyllum
  • Tuberous Grass Pink, Calopogon tuberosus

The first day of issue ceremony was held at the American Orchid Society Library at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida on February 21st. When I bought stamps a few days later, they were obviously very popular, because our local post office was running low on them. Buy your orchids at the post office while supplies last.

March Orchid Events

Posted February 29th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

As I was preparing March’s list, some events in East Asia were being cancelled over fears about coronavirus. Most significantly, the World Orchid Conference in Taiwan has been postponed. Around the world, dozens of other events this month are continuing, as of this writing.

March 1
Harrogate Orchid Society Show & Sale, The Pavilions of Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground, Wetherby Rd., Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK
March 6 – 7
Greater North Texas Orchid Society Spring Show & Sale, Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Rd., Richardson, Texas
March 6 – 8
Maryland Orchid Society Show & Sale, Maryland Home and Garden Show, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Rd., Timonium, Maryland
March 6 – 8
Central California Orchid Society Spring Show, Fresno Home and Garden Show, Fresno Fairgrounds, 1121 S. Chance Ave., Fresno, California
March 6 – 8
Orchid Society of the Ozarks Show & Sale, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, 4703 N. Crossover Rd., Fayetteville, Arkansas
March 6 – 8
Triad Orchid Society Show & Sale, AB Seed Education Annex, 8432 Norcross Rd., Colfax, North Carolina
March 6 – 8
Feria de Orquídeas, Casa Polaca, Jorge Luis Borges 2076, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
March 6 – 8
Exposição de Orquídeas de Pernambuco, Associação Orquidófila de Pernambuco, Rua dos Palmares 831, Santo Amaro, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
March 6 – 8
Exposição de Orquídeas de Batatais, Ginásio de Esportes da Ceuclar, Batatais, São Paulo, Brazil
March 6 – 8
Exposição de Orquídeas de Cataguases, Salão Paroquial Santa Rita de Cássia, Cataguases, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Read the rest of this post »

Pacific Orchid Expo 2020

Posted February 24th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco

Masdevallia Charisma 'Brilliant', orchid hybrid flower, white flower with purple stripes, pleurothallid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium orchid flowers with blue first place ribbon, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLaelia jongheana, AKA Cattleya jongheana, orchid species flower, large pink white and yellow flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Vanda coerulescens 'Smigden', orchid species flower, blue and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaRossioglossum Rawdon Jester 'Great Bee', orchid hybrid flower, large yellow reddish-brown and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid flowers and leaves, orchid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

The San Francisco Orchid Society puts on fantastic shows. This past weekend’s Pacific Orchid Expo was another great success, full of astounding blooms and friendly orchid lovers. It was also full of gasps of amazement as visitors saw how much more there is to the orchid world than standard grocery store varieties.

Fredclarkeara x Catasetum hybrid, orchid hybrid flower, green flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaClowesetum orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne sparsa, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Megaclinium purpureorachis, AKA Bulbophyllum, orchid species flowers, weird flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaRestrepia antennifera 'Cow Hollow' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, pleurothallid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum medusae, orchid species flower, strange flower with fringed lip, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

I came home with three plants and a book about Vandas. One of my orchid purchases was a red variety of Masdevallia coccinea, to add to the hot pink and sunny yellow cultivars of that species which bloom so well for me. It’s a small plant, so it may be a few years before it flowers. In the meantime, I certainly have many pictures from this year’s show to share. Check back here soon for more.

Maxillaria lehmannii, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum orchid hybrid flowers, pink flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2020, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California