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Excerpts from

VOLUME 83, NO. 2—April, May, June 2019


Orchids in Extreme Environments
Carol Siegel
17 pages, 41 photos

Fire in fynbos
©William Liltved

A Sarisarinama monster hole
©Juan Silva

My husband says that in his next life he wants to come back as one of my orchids: coddled, spoiled, and over-indulged. He thinks my orchids are like those legendary Civil War Southern belles who drank mint juleps under lush magnolia trees caressed by gentle breezes, waited on by a retinue of servants. (In this scenario, I am the retinue…) Unlike the orchids in my care, however, most orchids in nature are more like gladiators who bravely face the worst conditions in the most extreme environments— and still, manage to survive and carry on. This is the story of those gladiators and some of the extreme environments that they endure.

Aren’t All Orchid Species  Extremophiles?
I asked Peter Bernhardt what examples of these tough orchids he could think of, and he cleverly remarked, “Technically, aren’t eighty-five percent of all orchid species extremophiles, as they are lithophytes or epiphytes?” Although “extremophile” usually is only applied to organisms like microbes, deep sea, or polar region creatures, most orchids clinging to life on the surface of rocks or the branches of trees indeed have a very tough life and face an extreme water challenge. Severed from their connection to the earth, they lack easy access to the nutrients and water storehouse of the soil, and they can desiccate in just a few hours without rain. They rely on whatever nutrients drip down from leaves above, accumulate in grooves in the bark, or are retained by fellow epibionts like mosses and ferns around them. They adapt to water stress with roots covered with velamen that quickly absorbs and retains any available moisture like a sponge. They carefully guard moisture with thick, juicy leaves under waxy coats. Moreover, like desert camels, they store water in their own “humps,” swollen green pseudobulbs found between the roots and the leaves. So, in a sense, the majority of orchids are extremophiles, but some orchids REALLY face extreme challenges...


Two Natural Hybrids of the Genus Paphiopedilum Discovered in Vietnam
Olaf Gruss, Nguyen Hoang Tuan, Chu Xuan Canh
7 pages, 15 photos, 1 line drawing

Paphiopedilum ×petchleungianum
©Olaf Gruss


Paphiopedilum ×sanjiangianum plant

Several interesting natural hybrids of the genus Paphiopedilum have been discovered in Vietnam: Paph. ×aspersum Aver. 2002 (barbigerum × henryanum), Paph. ×aspersum var. trantuananhii O. Gruss, Aver., Canh et Tuan 2018 (Paph. barbigerum var. coccineum ×Paph. henryanum), Paph. ×cribbii Aver. 2006 (appletonianum × villosum), Paph. ×dalatense Aver. 2001 (callosum × villosum), Paph. ×siamense (Rolfe) Rolfe 1896 (appletonianum × callosum) and Paph. ×tamphianum Aver. et O. Gruss 2016 (gratrixianum × villosum).

There are also quite a few natural hybrids of the genus Paphiopedilum in Southeast Asia, which are known only from collections of their Holotype (Type specimen). This also applies to two natural hybrids from China, which were found for the first time in Vietnam.

Paphiopedilum ×petchleungianum O. Gruss
Die Orchidee. 2001. 52 (4): 398.

Natural hybrid: Paph. dianthum × Paph. villosum

Distribution: China, Guangxi Province; Vietnam, Lai Châu Province in Sìn Hồ district

History: Aree Petchleung (Huang Rong Shu) is an orchid lover from Nanning, a city in the Guangxi province of China. Together with his wife Liao, he collects species of the genus Paphiopedilum, which he cultivates at his home. During a business trip to Yunnan on July 18, 2001, he met a farmer in the Wen Shan district who frequently explores the surrounding mountains collecting herbs for the local market and cultivated orchids for his home. Among the plants Aree Petchleung noted was one in flower that reminded him of Paph. villosum. On closer examination, he noted that the leaves and the almost triangular white-based staminodium with yellow spots reminded him of Paph. dianthum...

Spotlight on the Native Orchids of the Périgord
Nancy Benay
10 pages, 19 photos

Cephalanthera longifolia
©Josiane Glaudon

Meadow orchid habitat
©Beth Martin

Welcome to the Périgord, a natural region and former province in Southwestern France which corresponds roughly to the current Dordogne department that makes up the northern section of the Aquitaine region. The Périgord is touted for its scenic beauty, prehistoric painted caves, medieval history, chateaux, stalactite and stalagmite caves, and its numerous “plus beaux villages de France” (the most beautiful villages of France). Add to this list its regional gastronomy including foie gras, confit de canard, truffles, walnuts, and quality wines. In other words, it is an ideal destination for a vacation. One detail that travel magazines and websites frequently neglect to mention, however, is the diversity of the Périgord’s flora, more specifically the abundance of European terrestrial orchids that populate the region’s woods, hillsides, grassy fields, bogs, and roadsides from late March through early summer.

In July 2008, my family and I spent a memorable week in the Périgord, navigating the winding departmental roads, visiting its pre-historic polychrome painted caves including the original Font-de-Gaume, kayaking on the Dordogne River, wine tasting, touring medieval fortresses, and absorbing the beauty and mystery of the medieval city of Sarlat-la Canéda. In summary, an unforgettable vacation and one that was further enhanced by an afternoon of orchid hunting in the charming village of Ladornac where we were fortunate to observe the late-flowering Epipactis helleborine and Epipactis muelleri that were still in bloom. Admittedly, I was hooked, not quite to the point of “orchidelirium” but sufficiently so that I promised myself to return as soon and as frequently as possible to study the region’s native orchids and to learn more about the province’s rich historical and cultural heritage...

Growing Mediterranean Native Orchids:
Serapias, Ophrys and Orchis
An Interview with Scott McGregor
Phyllis Prestia
5 pages, 9 photos

Scott McGregor’s Shade House.
©Phyllis Prestia

Orchis italica sprouting in Scott’s growing medium.
©Scott McGregor

Today I've driven north along the coast from San Diego County, California into Orange County to the lovely historic town of San Juan Capistrano sometimes known for the swallows that make their mud nests here in the spring and the beautiful Spanish architecture brought here by the Franciscan missionaries. Located close to the coast and bathed in Pacific Ocean breezes, it’s the perfect place to grow orchids outdoors. Scott McGregor is the outdoor orchid grower I’ve come to interview.

Scott has been growing orchids most of his life. He began at the young age of 12 while growing up in St. Louis, Missouri where he claims he “was adopted by friends who belonged to an orchid society and was given a few plants since he didn’t have a lot of money to buy them.” He admits he also won one or two in an orchid auction, quickly becoming a society member and orchid hobbyist.

As many orchid enthusiasts do, over the years he experimented with many different species of orchids, learning by trial and error. When, through his employment, he was sent for a short time to the Netherlands, he had to give up his orchids, which he missed greatly.

Scott is now retired and has settled in San Juan Capistrano, a southern California town located in the five-milewide coastal belt. True to his convictions and interests in growing orchids outdoors, he has built an outdoor shade house to hold a new collection of orchids. Scott doesn’t have a greenhouse, so his orchids are exposed to the elements. The only modifications he has made are to control the light exposure with shade cloth and to utilize additional eastern exposure areas around his house and porch for growing those orchids which benefit from direct, morning sun...


The 63rd Paphiopedilum Guild
Tim Culbertson
12 pages, 31 photos

Group of Paph. venustum
©Harold Koopowitz

Paph. bungebelangii
©Dody Nugrohu


What a wonderful weekend! The 63rd Paphiopedilum Guild meeting at the Hyatt Santa Barbara occurred on January 19th and 20th; this annual meeting of Paph lovers the world over brings together lovely example plants, vendors, speakers, and camaraderie. This year, with a full van of plants for display, and my good friend Tom Mirenda in tow, I made my way north in great anticipation of new knowledge, new plants, and new friends.

This year, six registrants brought about 100 plants for display. Ventura native Jim Sloniker brought in a lovely basket of plants, including an exceptional unregistered hybrid of Paph. Gege Hughes × Paph. Magic Mood. Many times, Magic Mood’s (Golden Diana × Peter Black) parent Peter Black, and its hybrids have anomalies (read: ugly warts) in the petals and dorsal sepal, but the smooth color and excellent form of Gege Hughes dominated in this particular case to make a shapely, beautifully colored flower without the typical problems. Paphiopedilum Gege Hughes was featured in several other hybrids in Jim’s display, all of which had the good color and form seen with this excellent and important parent.

Harold Koopowitz showed a big table full of plants, this year featuring large complex paphs, although he continued to showcase a few of his miniature hybrids. Of particular note was a giant flower of Paph. Pit River Rise ‘Folly’s End’ AM/AOS, a cross of Kimura’s Present × Sunline. This was easily the largest paph in the show, and Harold pollinated it with Paph. Skip Bartlett ‘White Pepper’ HCC/AOS (godefroyae × F. C. Puddle). We hope we will see monster whites from this cross in a few years.

Harold also had a number of great whites. Paphiopedilum Shirokane ‘Big White’ AM/AOS is a nice example of the cross of White Queen × Optimus Prime and is one of the last wonderful white hybrids from the nowdefunct Orchid Zone. Hopefully, new breeders will take these plants and continue to press forward with these fine orchids. Harold showed an unregistered hybrid of Paph. (Ice Age × Icy Icy Wind) ‘Crème Fraiche.’ It is a lovely white, hopefully with a bright future as a breeder...

Book Review - The Cape Orchids:
A Regional Monograph of the Orchids
of the Cape Floristic Region
Carol Siegel
2 pages, 1 photo

Oeceoclades splendida. Inflorescence with a small lower branch.
©Harold Koopowitz

I have a library full of orchid books, but only The Cape Orchids gets to sit on my desk. Weighing in at 13 pounds, the magnificent two-volume set, printed on 80-lb matte art paper in a four-color slipcover with spot varnish detail, is so gorgeous and comprehensive that it deserves to be admired and enjoyed every day. I treasure it both for its beauty and its erudition, and heartily recommend it to every orchid lover who can pay the price tag. This is a self-published work limited to a print-run of 1000 copies and was particularly costly to produce privately but is worth every penny...