The Journal of the Canadian Orchid Congress
Le Journal de la Fédération Canadienne des Sociétés Orchidophiles

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The Prairie Issue January 1994
Volume 6 - Number 1

Editor: Malcolm Adams


A New Year Message

Happy New Year! May 1994 be a year of health and happiness, and wonderful orchid blooms.

Since our last newsletter, those of you who are on the Canadian Wildlife Department mailing list will have received your copy of the proposed Rules and Regulations regarding Bill C42.

I trust you were as upset as I.

Having put in more hours than I care to count in the last two years trying to communicate our views regarding the government's response to CITES in the form of Bill C42, including two trips to Ottawa as your COC representative at a public forum and legislative committee hearing, I was devastated to see the result. The proposed Rules and Regulations show absolutely no reflection of any of the points we worked so hard to make.

My letter to Mr. Brackett is reprinted here in the COC Newsletter. I urge you to make your members aware of the contents and to encourage as many as possible to write to Mr. Brackett in support of its views. A simple letter stating that the individual supports the views of the COC as expressed in the President's letter of December 9, 1993 would suffice, a letter expressing the individual's views would be even better.

At this point I feel an overwhelming expression of outrage is our only option.

It should be noted that as a result of Department downsizing, Bob Maclean, our original contact in WAPPA will once again be involved and may yet bring some intelligence to the process, however I feel we must let our frustration with the incompetence of this document be known.


Once again, I must thank Howard Ginsberg (ECOS) for his expert advice - this time in helping to prepare the WAPPA letter. Winnipeg is working hard to prepare for our Annual Meeting. They have had some major hurdles to overcome including a change in venue! Rosewitha and her committee are to be congratulated on their efficient handling of this setback. Most of us don't care to think how we would cope with being told our Showsite was no longer available - less than four months before our first hosting the Canadian Orchid Congress Annual Meeting. WELL DONE.

Please note the details of the meeting in this newsletter and encourage as many members of your club as possible to attend. This will be a very important meeting with a number of important decisions to be made. We need your participation!

You have all received your COPY of the first COC Mail-In Auction. Please encourage your members to participate. Edmonton has made a fine gesture in providing these plants, let's respond in kind.

Our editor Malcolm Adams will be visiting many of you in the next week or two on his speaking tour. I know that you will enjoy both his talk and his acquaintance. When you meet him, I hope you will take the opportunity to express your appreciation of the time and energy he has put in to our Newsletter, AND to promise him future articles!

I wish you all well in your growing, showing, repotting, and all things orchidaceous in the coming year and look forward to seeing you in Winnipeg.

Annette Bagby - President, Canadian Orchid Congress

Letter to the Director General, Canadian Wildlife Service

December 9, 1993.

David Brackett
Director General
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H3

Dear Mr. Brackett,

The Regulatory Proposal for the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act has been reviewed by myself and others on behalf of the Canadian Orchid Congress. The C.O.C. represents twenty-two orchid clubs across Canada with an approximate membership of two thousand orchid growers. We are tropical orchid growers, and as such are greatly concerned with the final outcome of this regulatory proposal.

After review, the C.O.C. must state that the Regulatory Proposal is completely unacceptable and unworkable as written.

As we have stated at every opportunity in this lengthy process, regulations pertaining to plants should be separated from those for animals. All authorities are in agreement that the greatest threat to wildlife is habitat destruction. Initially, at least, animals can move when their habitat is destroyed, plants cannot. Habitat cleared by fire causes most animals to relocate, IT IMMEDIATELY DESTROYS THE PLANTS! For this reason alone plants should be treated separately. The CITES decision to remove all restriction on flasked plant material has done more for the conservation of tropical orchids that any laws could hope to achieve. Unlike animals, the restriction of trade in plants may in many cases lead to their extinction.

We presume that the government's goal is to prevent illegal specimens from entering trade, to maintain legal trade, and to establish a practical program to achieve these ends. BUT ABOVE ALL TO CONSERVE.

Although we feel the document as a whole is in need of rewriting, the greatest problems are as follows:

The definitions are woefully lacking, e.g. 'permit', to what does this refer? As written, it can be confused with the import permit that Agriculture Canada has just made unnecessary for plants and plant related material imported from the continental U.S.A. See D-93-16. Under 'Exemptions and requirements'
'An import permit would be required for:' in this section the words 'specimen' and 'animal' appear to be used interchangeably! If some of these only pertain to animals, surely this is another argument for separate rules and regulations.

The section related to 'travelling zoo, menagerie, plant exhibition' that requires the exporter or importer to register full details with the minister, is totally impractical for such events as Orchid shows. The plants that can be taken to these are decided at the last minute depending on bloom and development and could not possibly be adequately described in advance to accommodate the government paper work.

Vancouver has worked hard to attract the World Orchid Conference to Canada in 1999, it is to be hoped that a more practical regulation can be devised!

There is no reference to flasked material in this document.

The section on Interprovincial Transport refers to provincial import and export permits, what are these? do they apply to tropical plants?

Possession! To expect that each individual owning a specimen of a CITES Appendix I plant to register it is preposterous. Since the majority of such plants are small seedlings from an artificially produced stock, many could be dead before the paperwork was organised by any normal government agency.

As regards the fees for permits, this is far from clear. Are these permits to be issued for each plant? Are they to be applicable to one importation only ? Are they primarily for commercial purposes, that is for bulk purchases rather than an individual plant purchase by a hobbyist? If intended for each purchase then, at these prices, you are wilfully encouraging smuggling!!!

The section dealing with disposal indicates that you have not bothered to consider our previous proposals! Although our experience with local wildlife inspectors has been exceptionally good in this area, the possibility of such terms as 'returning to its country of origin' when applied to orchids (usually shipped bare-root) is almost certain to result in the demise of the plant. I suggest you refer to our earlier proposals.

The 'designated ports' section is quite unacceptable for small hobby shipments of orchids. You only need to consider the transit time for a letter to span this country to understand the difficulties here...... 'deterioration of goods' would be standard! Again the addition of inspection fees, salary and otherwise to a hobbyist size import is encouraging the circumvention of the system......... it's impractical.

Plants cannot at this time be implanted with microchip markers.

Regarding the 90 day response to permit applicants, this is not practical. Few of us know what we will be doing in three months. Again, when an opportunity to visit a foreign nursery is imminent, it is difficult in this age of fax machines, computers, modems, etc. to imagine why the government needs three months to respond.

In closing, I reiterate that as a culmination of all the communication that has gone into this legislation since its inception this document is a disaster!!

Yours sincerely

Annette B. Bagby President, Canadian Orchid Congress

c c Bob McLean


Even the best growers will have some insect problems from time to time on their orchids. Insect pests are controllable, just follow some simple rules and you will be in control rather than the pests being in control.


Some very general information that will help you take charge:

Types and Uses of Pesticides

ALL pesticides are dangerous but all can be used safely. Use common sense, follow directions, wear protective clothing and READ THE LABEL. There are five main types of chemicals or insect controls:

  1. Contact sprays are just what they say. If you don't actually hit the pest, it will not die. These chemicals are a problem because most pest are hidden or in hard to reach areas. The contact sprays have no residual effect, a short time after spraying the chemical has broken down and will not kill anything.
  2. Systemic sprays absorb into the plant (and into you!) so there is some residual action. In other words, after the spray is applied the pest may absorb the poison by eating the leaf or leaf juices or by running across the residue on the leaf. The residue may last in the plant for up to 10 days. Systemic sprays are far more dangerous to the user. A child (or pet) eating a leaf several days after application can be poisoned. Most chemicals purchased in the garden stores have some residual (systemic) action.
  3. Soaps - so called safe chemicals, they are all in the contact type. Safers Soap (Trounce) is a product designed especially for the home owner to have an effective pesticide that is safe to use in the home.

    Because it is a contact type, more frequent applications are necessary or complete control is impossible. You have to hit every insect to kill them. Soaps actually work by dissolving the epidermal protection around the pest so they freeze to death. (You can hear them shivering and thus know it is effective.) Ivory liquid soap at the rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon is just as effective as Safers Soap. Some damage to flowers may occur from the use of soap sprays.

  4. Oil Sprays - a new generation (redeveloped) of safe pesticides. They are actually a finely refined vegetable oil and are generally non-toxic to plants.

    One of the current product names is Sunspray 2E which is simply a refinement of the old Dormant Oil. This product is also a contact spray that suffocates the insect by filming over breathing apparatus. The Oil sprays are very effective but, as with Soaps, more frequent spraying will be necessary as you have to hit every insect to kill them. Too heavy a concentration may also seal up the plant stomata thus causing some damage to the plant.

  5. Biological Controls - A word of warning, the introduction of Biological Controls will not be the end of your pest problems. For one thing, to most people 'a bug is a bug' and there is no such thing as a good one. Also to successfully use 'Bio' there has to be some pests present so the good bugs have something to eat.

    There is a biological control available for each insect pest but conditions have to be just right for them to be effective and Biologicals are generally quite expensive.

Insects To Be Concerned About

The list is extensive so don't give up now. All of these insects will not be on your plants (may never be).

I will list the more common ones first. Remember correct identification is the key to control - Do you have a magnifying glass? Many are very small and hard to see.

I will identify a control chemical in each case but make sure the specific chemical is in fact licensed for use on orchids in your area. In the United States there are far more pesticides registered than in Canada.

Learn the life cycles for each pest. It is essential to recognize the life cycle for each pest involved in the program. The life cycle will determine the frequency of any spray program.

mealybug Longtail (Pseudococcus longispinus)
Solanum (Phenococcus solani)

Scale: There are many varieties of scale, two main classes are listed below.


1) Soft Scale:

2) Armoured Scales:- Boisduval, Florida, Red, Greedy Scale:

Two spotted Spider mites:
mealybug (Tetranychus urticae) and European red mite
(Note: This is different to the False Spider described later.)

Western Flower Thrip: (Frankliniella occidentalis)


Aphids: (Myzus persicae)


False Spider Mite: (Teruipalpus pacificus)


White Fly: (Sweet Potato Whitefly) (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) (Bemisia tabaci):


Soil Gnats: (Bradysia corporophila)


Slugs and Snails:


Gordon Heaps, Orchid Society of Alberta

Gordon Heaps is Supervisor of operations at Muttard Conservatory in Edmonton with extensive experience in the interior landscaping industry. He served as President of the Orchid Society of Alberta for two years, 1991 to 1993.

Gordon became addicted to orchids shortly after installing a 300 sqr. ft Lord and Burnum greenhouse on his residence about ten years ago. His main orchid interest is yellow/green Phalaenopsis but has an extensive Oncidium species and miniature Cattleya collection. He is just beginning to see the result of his breeding program in both Phals and Catts. Success has been sufficient enough to name eight Phalaenopsis and four Cattleyas to date.

Cattleya walkeriana var coerulea 'Chouju'

In 1992 I received a Cattleya walkeriana from H&R Nurseries in Hawaii. Having had considerable problems with another walkeriana I have had in a pot for 3-4 years, I decided to put it on bark with some moss under it for moisture. The plant sat on the moss and did absolutely nothing.

At that time I reread an article on C. walkeriana by Tom and Mary Baker in the June, 1992 Oregon Orchid Society newsletter. There they said that the plant's roots must dry very rapidly after watering. 'C. walkeriana is best mounted directly to the slab without a moss pad under the plant. Bill Leonard at Hoodview Orchids mentioned that he could not remember ever having C. walkeriana becoming established if a pad of sphagnum moss was used."

Well my plant was no exception. I removed the moss and remounted on the bark. within two weeks I was rewarded with fresh roots and a month later with a vigorous new growth. At that point my older plant came out of it's pot and is just starting a new growth on the bark.

Please note that some well grown C. walkeriana live in pots as well - I don't know whether it is the grower or the particular clone.

Ross Otto, President Foothills Orchid Society

The Orchid Species Foundation

The Orchid Species Foundation at Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, began through discussions by a number of members of the Orchid Society of Alberta. They were concerned at the increasing restrictions of government to the movements of Orchids. With the increasing number of species being placed on the CITIES ONE list, it appeared that soon all imports of species would be restricted. To that end they felt that it would be desirable to build a collection or "gene pool" and preserve it for future generations. Initially they were going to attempt the project under the Orchid Society, however to take advantage of charitable donations, another organization would be required. The Foundation was formed in mid 1991 and incorporated under the Societies' Act of Alberta in January, 1992. The objectives of the Foundation are:

At that time the Foundation had about 150 species that were donated by Martin Nussbaumer and were being kept at the Muttart Conservatory. The next steps were obtaining charitable status and forming a plan to create a home for plants. It seemed reasonable to eventually build a greenhouse at the Muttart dedicated to species orchids.

During September, 1992, Lorne and Bev Stuart of Vancouver donated 3,100 orchid plants to the Muttart. About half of the plants are species, many in the Pleurothallis and Masdevallia families. The understanding was that the collection would be kept together. There was an informal agreement between the Muttart and the Foundation that:

The Muttart and Foundation are currently formalizing this agreement and resolving the practical problems associated with maintaining the collection.

In March, 1993, the Foundation received charitable status effective January 1, 1993. Also during the summer of 1993, a class at NAIT wrote four cataloguing systems for the Foundation. We need to evaluate these systems and install one at the Muttart.

We now have all the major pieces in place, the organization, the collection, charitable status, and a good working relationship with the Muttart. There is still much to be done, mostly in fund-raising, support, direction, and publicity. This is where you can participate. Anything! Take out a membership, adopt a plant, make a donation, get involved with a project. We need your membership! We need your support!

Short term, we will need significant help with the Orchid Show in February as we are putting in two displays and a public relations table.

Longer term, we are looldng at running a casino. That requires forty to fifty volunteers. The casino will run two days about two years from now. We need forty or fifty dedicated individuals who are willing to help then, but can give a tentative commitment now. Hopefully when the time arrives, there will be thirty to forty individuals that can help when the casino actually happens.

I am looking forward to a good 1994. With your help, we can meet our commitments for this year and get a good start on our long term goals.

Jim Strong, President Orchid Species Foundation


The first meeting to form what was to become the Regina Orchid Society, was held on August 27th 1985 at the home of the 'Regina Orchid Lady' (Mary Engstrom), six people were in attendance, there was some doubt as to whether there was enough interest in Orchids in Regina to support a society. However at that meeting a name was decided for the society, an executive was decided upon and bylaws were drafted which to this day remain almost the same, they must have done good work!

For the first two years or so the monthly meetings were held in the homes of members, however as the society grew to its present size of about fifty members, a larger place had to be found for the meetings. The city kindly agreed to let us have the use of the city greenhouse for our meetings for several years. What an appropriate place have an orchid meeting, however all good things must come to an end and since Sept. 1992 we have rented space at a community center.

In the fall of 1988, with about twenty five members, a lot of ignorance and not much money, we decided to put on our first Orchid Show in April 1989. Once again the City of Regina agreed to give us the use of the greenhouse for a percentage of the admission. We couldn't lose!, to make a long story short, the first and following shows were a resounding success, and the following three shows, four in all were held at the city greenhouse. We must acknowledge the support, help and advice we received from Gordon Heaps of Edmonton, the late Martin Nussbaumer and Martin Orchids of Edmonton and Ed Maza of Prairie Orchids of Winnipeg, who have all been with us from the first show, and more recently Johnson Orchids of Edmonton and Village Orchids of Winnipeg. Our 1993 show was held pool-side at the Seven Oaks Motor Inn and the 1994 show will be held at the Seven Oaks Motor Inn again, in the banquet rooms, April 16th and 17th 1994, the weekend following the C.O.C. show in Winnipeg, EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

George Malish, Regina Orchid Society

Styrofoam 'Popcorn'

For those of you who like to use styrofoam 'popcorn' that is used for many items, here is a word of advice. One of our members, Christine Gauthier, used some in the bottom of a Cymbidium pot. She had her plant outside all summer and when it was time for it to come inside in the fall she didi't want all the little bugs to come in with it. So she unpotted it outside and was going to rinse the roots. To her suprise, the styrofoam she used was biodegradable and with all the waterings the plant had received during the summer, the 'popcorn' had turned to a wallpaper-like paste that completely covered the roots. She took a hose to the plant and had a difficult time removing the paste from the roots. So beware!! Check your 'popcorn' by wetting it and letting it stand for a while to see if it is the biodegradable type.

Lucille Harsch, Orchid Society of Alberta

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