Over the past few months the clubs across Canada have been asked to send me lists of species grown by their members for publication in the newsletter. This is a huge job both for the club coordinator and for myself - I've never typed so many Latin snd Greek names in my life!
A number of members in my club and I'm sure yours, have asked the purpose of these lists so I'm writing this short note to explain why I think this is not only an important task but rather an IMPERATIVE one. As most of you are aware, CITES is slowly closing down the free passage of orchid plants across international boundaries making the process of acquiring new plants more and more difficult. Add to this the sad fact that as habitats are destroyed there are fewer and fewer wild populations to draw on, and we must face the possibility that in a very short time many orchids will become impossible to obtain from their natural locations. Now there is no doubt that most of the popular species that have been handled by the large commercial growers for decades will continue to be in good supply as these growers are well aware of the importance of keeping a good supply of stock plants for breeding purposes - you know, those fabulous plants that are always roped off and NOT FOR SALE! BUT there are thousands of species not as commercially interesting due to difficulty of culture, or less interest to the buying public, that are not commonly found on those stock benches. Many of the smaller species, as we have all learned to our dismay, are often impossible to keep in good form for more than two or three years under the best conditions we can give them and with all the care in the world. These species are almost never propagated by the commercial growers for the simple reason that it is not profitable. A species that produces few viable seeds, is difficult to grow and not a great seller is only of interest to a few hobbyists. The hobbyists then will have to be responsible for keeping these minor species propagated.
Now there is no question that this can be achieved at the club level and often is, but any of us who have been involved in commercial orchid buying know that more often than not all the plants of one species come from one source and therefor represent a very small gene pool. Any possibility of expanding that gene pool should be investigated for the good of the species. I realize that across Canada we all tend to use the same commercial sources but in this wide area there are likely people who have come into possession of a plant while on a collecting trip or from a source not easily available to the rest of us. These people and their plants can be invaluable.
YES there are problems of identification, virus, etc. that will make the trading of pollen and/or seed pods a complicated procedure but I and many others feel that the risks can be minimized by good communication. The most valuable growers will obviously be those wonderful individuals who keep careful records of where and when a plant was purchased, how often and when it blooms, and of course a photographic record. Some experience in setting and harvesting pods would obviously be a benefit but not a necessity as we all have the ability to learn these techniques.
The clubs COC rep will be responsible for making these lists (to be published as they become available) available to their club members.
A backup copy of all lists should be kept on file.
FOR SECURITY REASONS SOME CLUBS HAVE CHOSEN TO SEND A MASTER LIST AND THEIR LIAISON OFFICER WILL HANDLE INQUIRIES AND PUT YOU IN TOUCH WITH THE PARTICULAR GROWER OR GROWERS OF THE SPECIES INDICATED.
Some lists have growers names attached - they may be contacted directly.
Others have a club liaison officer - when contacted they will pass on your inquiry to the appropriate member.
Since many of the species have very short bloom times, I suggest that you should set up correspondence with your prospective seed pod partner well in advance of the pollination date, the fresher the pollen the better.
If like me you are a little unsure of what goes where on the smaller, lesser known species, refer to the superb illustrations in Tom and Marion Sheehan's ORCHID GENERA ILLUSTRATED.
Let's give it a try!
I hope everyone had a splendid New Year's celebration and that you, your family and orchids prosper well in 1992. Things are a bit slow right now but looking at the upcoming dates of orchid shows across Canada I see that many orchid societies will definitely be busy very soon. The Orchid Society of Alberta (Edmonton) has their annual AOS judged show on February 8 - 17, judging on the 8th, Vancouver's show also AOS judged is February 29 - March 1 , judging on the 28th of February at Van Dussen's Botanical garden, and Montreal's show is on March 28 -29 (As is the Orchid Society of the Royal Botanical Gardens Ed.) I wish complete success to all of these societies putting on their shows and to any other society that also has a show coming up. Putting on an orchid show is a lot of work. The effort is definitely worth putting out so that we can get the general public to know that orchids are not the timid little fragile greenhouse wall flowers that a lot of people seem to think.
I was recently at an open house of some orchid growing friends who had invited several guests, one being a neighbor. This neighbor heard about the orchids in the basement and at once wanted to see them. When she walked into the growing area she was dumbfounded to see that every last plant in the room was an orchid. She thought that there was only one plant which was called an orchid, not that there was a whole family of plants out there referred to as orchids. So this just goes to show that there are still a lot of uneducated people out there when it comes to orchids. She was ever more shocked when I told her about the native orchids of Alberta.
CITES is always a source of frustration, aggravation, and at times even inspiration. In a recent conversation with an orchid friend in Victoria it was mentioned that there was possibly some concern about transporting endangered species on CITES Appendix I interprovincially. I phoned the Canadian Wildlife department which deals in CITES and found out that Bill C-42, which has only had its first reading in the house, is to put the current CITES in place, which will bring the whole CITES issue into the nineties. The current document was put in place in the late forties. At this time there does not seem to be any concern about interprovincial movement of endangered species on Appendix I as long as they are not native species and are being commercially produced. In the future this may be more of a hindrance than anything else. Also pertaining to CITES is the Convention taking place in Japan in March. In talking with the CITES officer I found out that there is a proposal to amend the movement of CITES appendix I orchid species IN ARTIFICIALLY PROPAGATED FLASKS. If this resolution is accepted by the CITE regulatory commission, we may be able to see the movement of all CITES APPENDIX I orchid species internationally as long as the plants are artificially produced and are still in flask. This is resolution number 8.27, lets hope that this will be accepted so that we can see the movement of these plants again, at least tnis is a start.
We have not heard from the various orcnid societies, members of the COC as to whether they are interested in the video produced by the COC. We will assume that all of you are and a copy will be mailed to your COC rep this spring, once all the copies are made. We also hope to have the pin ready for the Fifth Canadian Orchid Congress meeting to be held in Toronto this May, hosted by the Southern Ontario Orchid Society (SOOS) on Mother's Day weekend May 3 - 10, 1992.
We are your voice for all orchid societies across Canada. If you have any ideas, concerns or questions, please drop us a line or two and we will try to utilize them to the best advantage of the COC. If you feel so inclined I am positive that Annette will graciously accept (!!!!! Ed.) an article or two on orchid growing in your area, or maybe a report on the show your orchid club may have just had, or a treatise on a particular genus/species of orchid that you have been researching and are not sure where to get it published (wishful thinking I presume). Anyway all the best.
Happy orchid growing until next time.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO SEND IN THE SPECIES LISTS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - THEY'RE HORRIBLE TO TYPE ALL AT ONCE.
PLEASE SEND ANY PARTICULAR INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR SHOW WELL IN ADVANCE
REMEMBER TO SEND FOR YOUR COC AWARD
PINS TO TRADE? contact Lynn S. Wiand, 714 Marigold, Corona del Mar,Calif., 92625-2411
Canadian Orchid Congress Fees
Society Membership $1.00 per society member
Individual Membership $15.00
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