Discovering New Orchids

Posted March 25th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Misc

Kew Science explains how new orchid species are discovered. Every year, scientists describe hundreds of additional orchid species. These discoveries emerge from plant specimens preserved in scientific institutions, and expeditions to unexplored jungles. Little-explored tropical rainforests abound in Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and many areas of the Andes. However, searching these remote regions doesn’t start with a trip to the jungle. Instead, it starts with many trips to herbaria around the world to sift through extensive collections of dried plants. These contain many unknown or misidentified specimens, which are goldmines of orchid exploration. Finding and naming these new orchid species grows more urgent every day. Destruction of tropical forests pushes many to extinction before they can even be identified.

Hello Spring

Posted March 20th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Masdevallia Tourmaline x Bay Breeze, orchid hybrid, deep red flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis schilleriana, Moth Orchid species with pink white and yellow flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium Eaglewood Kana 'Flash', orchid hybrid, green white and red flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

I’ve been digging deeper into our photos from the recent Pacific Orchid Expo, and these blooms jumped out to help greet spring. In the the USA’s Northeast, today is a welcome finish to a frigid, snowy winter. Here in California, spring is the end to our hopes that a rainy winter would replenish our reservoirs. It’s no fun to start the season with a major drought, but it does make me appreciate these blooms even more.

Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann 'Buckleberry', orchid hybrid, long skinny reddish purple and yellow flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium spectabile v aureum, orchid species, yellow and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda Pachara Delight hybrid, orchid hybrid, deep blue flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Trichopilia suavis, orchid species, pink yellow and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium Lucky Gloria 'Miss Kim', orchid hybrid, pink yellow and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia caesia, orchid species, yellow and reddish purple flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

The Secret Life of Orchids – Fungi

Posted March 17th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Videos

Take a peek at the secret life of orchids in the short video below. Smithsonian Ecologist Melissa McCormick explains how much wild orchids need fungi to survive. Many types of plants exchange nutrients with fungi, but orchids cheat this symbiotic relationship by eating their fungi instead. Fortunately, a little fertilizer will suffice with your orchids at home.

And don’t miss the detailed, 3D image of an Embreea orchid at Smithsonian Science! You can investigate the virtual flower from different angles. Click on the menu in the upper left of the 3D image to find a guided tour of orchid flower parts.

And More Photos From the Pacific Orchid Expo

Posted March 12th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Orchids are full of surprises.With incredibly diverse shapes, colors, and fragrances, it’s hard to believe that these flowers are actually related to one another. No other flowering plant family has such rich palettes and fascinating designs. These examples from the recent Pacific Orchid Expo certainly prove my point.

Masdevallia flower, red and orange flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpigeneium acuminatum, orchid species with white red and yellow flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum andersonii, orchid species with purple red and yellow flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Coelogyne incrassata, orchid species with yellow and white flower and bronze leaves, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia rosea. orchid species with pink and orange flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCalanthe densiflora, orchid species with yellow flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Many of these lesser-known varieties are the ones which give orchids their fussy reputations. Growing them demands exacting conditions to match tropical climates, with precise temperatures, high humidity, and pure water. Fortunately, events like the Pacific Orchid Expo let me enjoy these remarkable flowers without all that hard work. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Neomoorea wallisii, orchid species with peach white yellow and purple flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, Californiapossibly Dracula chestertonii, orchid species with weird flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaRestrepia flower close up, mini orchid species with red yellow and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Dendrobium shiraishii close up of flower lip, orchid species with purple and yellow flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Pink Lady, orchid hybrid with pink purple white and yellow flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia polysticta, mini orchid species with purple white and yellow flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Orchids for Chinese New Year

Posted March 7th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

It’s the Year of the Ram, and Chinese New Year is a great time for orchids. For millennia, orchids, especially Cymbidiums, have been treasured in East Asia for their rich fragrances and graceful foliage. Nowadays, they are popular gifts and decorations for Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival. Confucius cemented orchids into Chinese culture over 2500 years ago by praising their nobility and sweet fragrance. The first three photos below show modern examples of these celebrated Chinese orchids. These traditional varieties are smaller, and more expensive, than most modern Cymbidium hybrids.

Cymbidium ensifolium Keiran small, light green red and white flowers, Chinese orchid species in gold white and black traditonal flowerpot, Pacific Orchid Expo 2011, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium goeringii 'Setsuzan' Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, traditional Chinese Orchid species with green yellow white red flowers, graceful variegated leaves, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium sinense, Chinese orchid species with red and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, California

Lunar New Year is celebrated in China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and in Asian communities throughout the world. Cymbidiums are always popular for the holiday, but so are Moth Orchids, Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, and others. The orchid hybrids pictured below are all great choices to wish happiness and prosperity in the new year. Read about other lucky flowers and fruits for Chinese New Year here. Happy Lunar New Year! Gung hay fat choy!

Dendrobium hybrid with purple and white flowers, Orchids in the Park 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis hybrid, Moth Orchid flower, Kawamoto Orchid Nursery, Honolulu, HawaiiCymbidium Chuk Nam Moi, orchid hybrid with yellow red and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, San Francisco, California

More Photos from the Pacific Orchid Expo

Posted March 4th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

As I continue to sort through our pictures from this year’s Pacific Orchid Expo, I’m finding lots of great shots. Here are some of Dave’s photos. They’re wonderful examples of the stunning diversity of the orchid family, which goes far beyond what’s for sale at the supermarket. With their brilliant colors and strange shapes, these flowers never fail to impress.

Habenaria Regnieri, orchid hybrid with pink and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne usitana, orchid species with white brown and dark orange flowers, zig-zag flower stem,  Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaSarcochilus George Culthop x Melody, orchid hybrid with pink yellow and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Epidendrum Yoko 'Yokohama', orchid hybrid with pink flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaDracula gorgona, orchid species with hairy white yellow and reddish-purple flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium Shelob 'Tolkien', orchid hybrid with red yellow pink and white flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Masdevallia manoloi, orchid species with yellow and red flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaPorroglossum muscosum, miniature orchid species with white yellow and purple flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya coccinea or Sophronitis coccinea, miniature orchid species with bright orange flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

March Orchid Shows

Posted March 1st, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Orchids are loved everywhere, and there’s no better proof than this month’s show schedule. March is a very busy month, with big events in Santa Barbara, San Diego, Atlanta, Montreal, Vancouver, and Taiwan. Even in unlikely locales like Boise, Saskatoon, and Norway, smaller shows celebrate this incredible plant family.

March 6 – 7
Englewood Area Orchid Society Show, Englewood Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn St., Englewood, Florida
March 6 – 8
Central California Orchid Society Spring Show, Big Fresno Fair, Floriculture Building, 1121 S. Chance Ave., Fresno, California
March 6 – 8
Martin County Orchid Society Show, Martin County Fairgrounds, Building G, 2616 SE Dixie Hwy., Stuart, Florida
March 6 – 8
Maryland Orchid Society Spring Show, Horticultural Hall, Timonium Fairgrounds, 2200 York Rd., Timonium, Maryland
March 6 – 8
Malihini Orchid Society Show & Sale, Vallco Shopping Mall, 10123 N. Wolfe Rd., Cupertino, California
March 6 – 8
Queensland International Orchid Fair, Beenleigh Showgrounds, James St., Beenleigh, Queensland, Australia
March 6 – 8
Orchidees & Ikebana, Espace Culturel Du Parc, 120 Rue Sadi-Carnot, 93700 Drancy, France
March 6 – 8
Munchner Orchideenmarkt, Gaststatte Heide Volm Planegg, Bahnhofstr. 51, 82152 Planegg, Munich, Germany
March 6 – 8
Internationale Orchideenausstellung, Festhalle Weisweiler, Berliner Ring 1, 52249 Eschweiler, Germany
March 6 – 8
Exposicao Nacional de Orquideas de Batatais, Ginasio de Exportes, Centro Universitario Claretiano, Batatais, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Read the rest of this post »

Help Save Dracula Orchids!

Posted February 25th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Cool Growers, In the News

Help the Orchid Conservation Alliance save Dracula orchids! A few months ago, I blogged about work to preserve a piece of the Chocó rainforest in Ecuador, one of the most biodiverse places in the world. A new nature reserve there could save 5% of all orchid species on earth, including many rare and fascinating Draculas. Now, the Orchid Conservation Alliance is working with the Rainforest Trust and Fundación EcoMinga to purchase land on the slopes of the Andes for the sanctuary. They need to raise $44,000 for the first phase of this project. New roads and looming development threaten this ecological treasure with destruction, so please donate now! The Orchid Conservation Alliance is a non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Pacific Orchid Expo 2015

Posted February 23rd, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Vanda Tokyo Blue 'Sapphire' AM AOS, orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaOerstedella wallisii, orchid species, yellow white and purple flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum orchid, Lady Slipper flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

The Pacific Orchid Expo is always amazing, and this year was no exception. San Francisco’s premier orchid event was a huge hit. Whether you’re a seasoned orchid addict like myself, or an orchid newbie, this past weekend’s show was overwhelming. Here are the first of our photos from the expo, and there are many more to come. Enjoy!

Orchid display, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia elephanticeps, orchid species, yellow and purple flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium Memoria Alicia 'Kings Park' x Dendrobium speciosum 'Windermere', orchid hybrid, lighty yellow and purple flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Longwood Gardens Brings Winter Warmth

Posted February 19th, 2015 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events, In the News, Videos

Escape from winter with this video from Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza. Located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Longwood Gardens is one of the nation’s premier botanical gardens. Visitors can luxuriate in tropical warmth with orchids and other exotic plants in Longwood’s 4 acre (1.6 hectare) conservatory. This video highlights the exhibit’s elaborate displays of Phals, Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, and much more. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, find some relief from the cold and gray at Longwood Gardens. The exhibit runs through March 29th, so you still have time to dig out of the latest blizzard to make it there.