Archive for March, 2011

Let the Sunshine In

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Moving orchids into shadier areas is standard spring care, but don’t put them in the dark! Seeing orchids growing wild in the tropics, I’ve been amazed how many grow in full sun. Sure, Vandas and Epidendrums love sun, but even lower light varieties, like Phals and Paphs, can handle direct sun for part of the […]

Spring Orchid Chores

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Spring is on the calendar. Even if your part of the world hasn’t completely shed winter, the sun is stronger, the days are longer, and it’s time for some seasonal orchid chores: Move orchids from their brighter winter locations to shadier areas for spring and summer. Orchids should receive enough light so that leaves are […]


Sunday, March 20th, 2011

While San Francisco’s winter hasn’t been as bad as other parts of the country, spring is always a welcome arrival. It’s easy to celebrate with more beautiful flowers from this year’s Pacific Orchid Expo. Winter is the rainy season here, and we’re still in the midst of a chilly series of storms. Today, at least, […]

An Orchid Explosion

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

The orchid family is full of strange pollination mechanisms. Catasetums have sweet scents, but it’s their incredible trick for gluing pollen to bees which has intrigued scientists from Darwin until now. When a bee touches a hair trigger, the orchid ejects glue and pollen to land on a precise spot on the bee’s back. I’ve […]

The Roadkill Orchid

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but rotting meat works even better. A strange little South African orchid has figured this out, and attracts pollinating flies with a deathly odor. Satyrium pumilum grows as a terrestrial in wet, sandy soil. During the day, its flowers emit a weak scent of decaying […]

Pacific Orchid Expo 2011

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Orchid overload is a common side effect of the Pacific Orchid Expo. Surrounded by so many floral gems, it can be tough to figure out where to point the camera. Sure, there are standouts like this incredible lady slipper, but with 150,000 orchids to choose from, a bit of vertigo sets in. Fortunately, Dave is […]

Phragmipedium kovachii, aka PK

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Can you believe that scientists didn’t discover this large purple flower until the 21st century? Phragmipedium kovachii, conveniently abbreviated as PK, hid in the Peruvian Amazon until 2001. After their discovery, it took several years for plants to legally enter cultivation, and now they’re starting to appear at orchid shows. Dave and I found this […]

Natural Wonders

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

The 59th Annual Pacific Orchid Expo is off and running! This year’s theme is “Natural Wonders,” and there are plenty to be found. Dozens of exhibits contain countless treasures. Here’s a small sample: Bay Area residents and visitors have until Sunday to catch this year’s show at Fort Mason. The largest orchid show in North […]

Rare Hawaiian Orchids Going Home

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Illinois College biologists are bringing some rare orchids home to Hawaii. Like I blogged last May, this Platanthera species, also known as the Fringed Orchid, is one of the few true island natives, and it’s endangered. Habitat destruction, invasive plants and animals, and theft from the wild have severely reduced the wild population. In 1992, […]

March Orchid Shows

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

This lengthy list illustrates the global popularity of orchids. Shows span the world, especially as the northern half of the planet eagerly awaits spring. Major orchid shows are happening in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, London, and Taiwan. March 4 – 6 Smoky Mountain Orchid Society Show, West Town Mall, 7600 Kington Pike, Knoxville, […]