New orchids discoveries

“Scientists from the conservation nonprofit WWF discovered the flower, along with at least seven other new species of orchid, in the tropical rain forests of Papua New Guinea.”

National Geographic News

“Now conservationists have made a discovery that would make any orchid hunter weep with joy – up to 28 new species of the flower. Eight of them are already confirmed as brand new plants that have never been seen before.”

This is London

That’s no fragile hothouse flower

Dsc_3741That’s one tough orchid.

Two years ago I brought a Lc. Cynthia ‘Model’ AM-FCC/AOS home from Madeira. This lovely orchid bloomed for me last winter, but we moved and life in our new home was not easy for a sun- and heat-loving plant. The summer was dull and rainy for the most part, and the morning sun through our window was filtered by a heavy cover of trees. In May I hung the obviously struggling plant on a tree outside, in the hope that it would get some more sun. It was definitely on the decline, and to be honest, I had already given up on it. Every once in a while I’d look over at the neglected orchid hanging on the tree and notice with a pang of guilt that it was still green, and still alive. But I’d shake my head and move on, knowing it was just a matter of time before it died.

In late August, I took a closer look, and was surprised to find that not only was the damned thing still alive, it even had some determined new growth. I decided then that this valiant orchid deserved a better home than I could give it. I cut off the new growth, potted it up, and gave it to my friend Christian — a kindred spirit with a sunny south window. I threw the two remaining shrivelled backbulbs and rubbery leaves onto the compost heap under the bushes.

Fast forward to late October. Chilly nights, and chilly days. Even a smattering of snow. Leaves were falling, and the green of those discarded backbulbs contrasted mightily with the brown leaves all around them. “Geez”, I thought. “That thing just won’t die. I might as well give it a chance, it can’t do any harm.” I picked it out of the pile, plopped it into a pot with some medium, stuck it into a plastic bag on the back of my bike, and cycled off to work. I put it on the sunny windowsill beside my desk, in the corner of the office that is starting to resemble a jungle. One plant at a time — that’s the secret I learned back in Toronto to bringing new plants home without arousing the suspicions of the spousal unit. Or in this case, good natured colleagues.

Said colleagues were alarmed by my squeal two mornings ago, when I found a new knob of growth at the base of the bulbs. The damned thing is starting to grow.

Like I said. That’s one tough plant.

Borchid Rippers

I’ve got a lot of boning up to do on happenings in the orchid world, I’m afraid. I let the cantakerous postings of the Orchid Digest pile up unread over the last couple of months, until last week when the news broke that another high profile somebody got busted for orchid smuggling. Scandalicious!! My ears always perk up for a good smuggling story, the media headlines are positively torrid.
Scientist Caged For Smuggling Rare Plants

The illegal trade, dubbed ‘orchidelirium’, threatens to destroy some species entirely. Thousands of pounds can be exchanged for each of the flowers admired for their sensuous shape and heady scent.

This one’s even better:

You can get off alcohol and drugs, but you never get off orchids. Never!”

says the Telegraph. It goes on:

On the moist, spicy slopes of Borneo’s 13,500ft Mount Kinabalu grows the Rothschild orchid, a plant too sexy for its stalk.

I am sensible to the fact that someone went to jail for that, and I appreciate it, whoever you are.

Orchid Conservation Forum

If you’re an orchid lover, here’s a link that you should should definitely check out: The Phytosophy Forum

It’s a new discussion list, with a very worthwhile philosophy:

horticulturists, scientists, and lovers of flowering plants, and
particularly those of the orchid family, believing that more active
measures should be taken by those interested in advancing the
conservation and culture of plants, and to secure for them the
appreciation to which they are entitled, do hereby associate ourselves
together for the purpose of aiding in every possible way the
conservation, trade, and improvement by cultivation and breeding; the
influence by debate, lobby, lecture, and publications of useful
information concerning plants, and the extension of knowledge,
production, propagation, and habitat preservation of these plants.

Another reason to visit: The photo gallery contains an amazing collection of photos of different varieties of Thelmytras (an Australian orchid species).

Aye Calypso

Check out this gorgeous photo of Calypso Bulbosa at the "Botany Photo of the Day" site.

It brings back fond memories of my futile search for this elusive little beauty on the Bruce Peninsula during last year’s Orchid Festival. This year’s festival is from May 27 – 29th for those of you lucky enough to be in the vicinity of Tobermory, Ontario at that time.

It makes me want to break into song.

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to,
the things that you’ve shown us,
the stories you tell…