Archive for the 'In the News' Category

A Brief History of China’s Wild Cymbidium Trade

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

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 […]

New Zealand’s Ghost Orchid Hunter

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

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 […]

Buy First-Class Orchids at the Post Office

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

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. There are nine orchid species depicted. Three Birds Orchid, Triphora […]

Dogs Are an Orchid’s Best Friend

Friday, February 21st, 2020

In the vast orchid family full of weird plants, Rhizanthellas stand out as among the weirdest. These Australian natives live their whole lives underground, and feed off fungi rather than photosynthesize. Their flowers occasionally break the surface, but usually out of sight in the dirt or leaf litter, so they’re really hard to find. But […]

Vanda Orchids in Glass

Monday, January 27th, 2020

Vandas are orchid royalty, but they can be challenging to grow. They need sun, warmth, regular water, high humidity, and lots of space for their long, dangling roots. Since they don’t like being potted, they’re usually grown on mounts or in baskets, with their roots hanging freely. That makes them difficult for home growers, who […]

Missoula’s ‘Best Kept Secret’ Helps Conserve Endangered Orchids

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Most people don’t think of orchids when they think of Montana, but Missoula’s Botanica, Ltd. is a great place for orchids. Brenda Oviatt and Bill Nerison have turned their hobby into a business which is devoted to growing endangered species. They specialize in the African Angraecoid family, which includes threatened varieties like Darwin’s Orchid, Angraecum […]

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Orchids

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

Legendary American artist Georgia O’Keeffe painted extraordinary flowers, including orchids. The Winston-Salem Journal analyzes two of her portrayals of Cattleya hybrids. The first, Narcissa’s Last Orchid, 1940,  is depicted realistically. The second, An Orchid, 1941, is more abstract. Both paintings focus on the frilly flower lips. Orchid expert Arthur Chadwick ponders which varieties inspired these […]

Rescuing a Delicious Australian Orchid

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on saving the Sunshine Diuris, a rare and delicious Australian orchid species. Diuris fragrantissima is also known as Snow in the Paddocks. Once common in grasslands around Melbourne, this species’ tubers were a favorite food source for Aboriginal peoples. It was so plentiful that European settlers picked its flowers by […]

Orchids at the Center of Cloud Forest Conservation in Ecuador

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Tune in to In Defense of Plants for an orchid conservation success story. Lou Jost has worked to protect cloud forests in orchid-rich Ecuador for decades, and has helped to create seven nature reserves. The reserves are essential habitats for many endangered plants and animals, including fascinating pleurothallid orchids, like Masdevallias, Draculas, and Stelis. If […]

Dragon Discovery: The Dracula Smaug Orchid

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

RBG Kew reports on Dracula smaug, a newly discovered orchid. This orchid isn’t named after the vampire legend; “Dracula” means “little dragon” in Latin, and “Smaug” is the name of the fire-breathing dragon from JRR Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit. The species was discovered in cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, near the Colombian border. Even though […]