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

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Winter 1995
Volume 7 - Number 1

Editor: Malcolm Adams


C.O.C. President's Message

It's been a mild winter this year, but I'm still looking forward to the orchid shows in the spring. Perhaps I'll see you at one of them.

I wish things looked warmer in Ottawa. Agriculture Canada is proposing fees for all their inspection services including the services that affect our hobby; they are proposing fees for phytosanitary and CITES certificates. Environment Canada has been working on their regulations for the import and export of endangered species. Marilyn Light, our Conservation Chair, has been working on these issues and meeting with Bob MacLean in Ottawa. She providing details in this issue of the C.O.C. Newsletter. I urge you to contact your Member of Parliament and your local Agriculture Canada office and ask for details. Express your concern about the effects these changes will have on your hobby. Make it clear that you are concerned not as business but as hobbyist. Refer them to Marilyn Light and the C.O.C. for details.

If you expect to be importing or exporting orchids in the next year, I suggest you apply to Agriculture Canada now.

Please don't forget the Canadian Orchid Congress annual show and meeting June 3 and 4, 1995. The host, the Alberta Orchid Society of Edmonton promises a memorable show and convention. With the federal government legislation and the upcoming World Orchid Congress, well have lots to discuss.

Malcolm Adams has kindly assembled a new C.O.C. directory of orchid societies in Canada. We'll be sending copies to the President of each society. You can make as many copies from your president's copy as you like.

I'm looking forward to the spring shows. From this edge of the country, I find it difficult to go to many shows. But I'll certainly be Edmonton in June. Can I count on seeing you there?

Steve Saunders, President, Canadian Orchid Congress. Member of the Orchid Society of Nova Scotia

White Paphs

During the past year, as a student judge I have had the opportunity to see many orchids; some exceptional, some beautiful, others extremely exotic. When a slipper orchid is brought to our monthly regional judging or selected at a show I have great interest in it. Recently several white Paphiopedilums have appeared and these have particularly attracted my attention.

The most familiar white paph species is P. niveum from Thailand. This species is a small plant which has white flowers with pink spotting in most clones. There are a few other white species that are used in breeding white paphs, they are P. godefroyae and P. emersonii. P. x angthong or P. Greyi is a natural hybrid of P. niveum and P. godefroyae which has been used in breeding white paphs. This hybrid has improved vigour over both parents and more marking on it due to P. godefroyae. On good clones the flowers stand well above the foliage and are quite large compared to either parent.

When used in hybridizing, P. niveum is quite dominant in some of its characteristics especially plant size and colour. Since P. niveum is a small plant most niveum hybrids end up on the smaller side which makes them good windowsill and light plants. P. niveum has an interesting ability in hybridizing to reduce or eliminate green and yellow. Many hybrids come out white, cream or pink depending on the colours in the other parent. The floral segments, i.e. petals and sepals, can be either full or thin, again depending on the shape of the other parent. When hybridized with P. bellatulum (P. Psyche) the resulting flowers are full and round. If used with P. primulinum (P. Ron Williamson) the flowers are white but not much fuller in the petals than primulinum is itself. P. Wolowense (x P. rothschildianum) is a larger growing plant and can be difficult to bloom but is certainly worth the effort it takes. The flowers are large and have the roth shape with the petals a bit fuller and not as long. The colour is off white with reddish-brown stripes running longitudinally along the petal length. Because P. niveum can produce more than one flower per inflorescence when used with a multiflowering species such as P. rothschildianum or P. primulinum the multiflowering habit carries through, though somewhat reduced.

With the introduction of the parvisepalum species there is a great opportunity for white hybrids. P. niveum x emersoni has been done but I have not seen any slides of it yet but it could be quite an amazing hybrid. What will niveum do to armeniacum? We know what P. delenatii (P. Armeni-White) does to it, will P. niveum be as good or better?

There are many famous primary hybrids that are worth growing that were hybridized before or at the turn of the century. One is P. Olivia (x tonsum). This hybrid has cream white flowers with lots of pink flecking on them that are produced on long stalks. All of the yellow green of P. tonsum is bleached out, a very attractive flower indeed.

With P. niveum hybrids the overall colour of the other parent will dictate the colour of the cross. If the other parent is predominantly green or yellow, then the resulting seedlings should bloom out white or cream. If the colour is predominately red or purple (as in barbatum or callosum), then the resultant seedlings will produce flowers of mainly pink tones. What about using albino callosums or Maudiaes, will the resulting progeny be white?

It doesn't matter which species or hybrid is crossed with P. niveum they are all worth trying. I have found the hybrids from niveum to be easy to grow and flower.

One of the most famous and popular white paphs is F.C. Puddle, a hybrid of P. Astarte and P. Actaeus. This hybrid was made many years ago and is still used today in hybridizing as well as its progeny. Even though F.C. Puddle has only one parent (P. Astarte) and one grandparent which is white (P. Psyche = bellatulum x niveum), the white is still quite dominant and can reduce the greens and yellows in other paphs bred with it. Some of the more famous F.C. Puddle progeny are Dusty Miller, Freckles, Puddleham, Jack Tonkin, Susan Tucker and Skip Bartlett. Upon looking through the current trends in hybridizing and the awards garnered, P. Skip Bartlett seems to be the parent of choice as many plants bred from P. Skip Bartlett have been registered and awarded. Some of these are White Knight, White Queen, White Leopard, Shadowfax, Pacific Foam and Moon Shadow.

There are other complex white paphs which do not have F.C. Puddle in their background but they may have P. Astarte or P. Psyche as a parent. P. Astarte has given rise to P. Rosy Dawn and P. Albion. Psyche has been bred to produce Silver Shadow, Virgo and White Spirit.

With the introduction of P. emersonii, different white hybrids are being produced one of which is P. Joyce Hasegawa (emersonii x delenatii). P. delenatii, even though it is pink, has the same properties as P. niveum in reducing green or yellow. When bred with P. armeniacum (Armeni White) the flowers are not the expected apricot but are pure white or cream. This also happens when P. delenatii is bred with P. primulinum (Deperle), instead of peachy tones again we are faced with white flowers. When P. malipoense is used with P. niveum the niveum parent has to work overtime to reduce the green and it usually does a fair job since many of the progeny (Wossner Jade) have just a slight green overcast to them.

As you can see there are numerous white paphs out there to be grown,some pure white, many with spots, dots or flecking and others with pink or green overtones to them. There is bound to be something to suit everyone's taste.

Ken Girard, Foothills Orchid Society.

Conservation Committee News

We have had recent discussions with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada. The CWS recognizes that non-governmental organizations such as the C.O.C. have an important role to play in conservation. It is up to the C.O.C. and its member societies to define that role and develop a simple, streamlined and effective program for orchid conservation. We need to show that we have effective policies in place to discourage the exhibition/sale of recent wild-collected plants at shows. We need to demonstrate that we are actively encouraging artificial propagation of orchid species. We need to underline our role in conservation education. We need more ideas about what is an effective program for orchid conservation. To develop an effective program, the Conservation Committee will need input from all societies as to what they see as our potential role. Hopefully a model proposal can be circulated for discussion at or before the Congress in Edmonton in June.

Canadian native orchids may not be on every Canadian orchid hobbyist's mind but many of these plants are considered collector's items by hobbyists abroad. Only a few Provinces have endangered species legistlation. Do we need to do anything more to ensure that this natural resource is conserved?

A discussion paper titled "Endangered Species Legislation in Canada" has been published by Environment Canada. To get your copy please write to the Director General, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON, KlA OH3. If after reading the discussion paper, you have any comments regarding native orchids, please send them to either Steve Saunders or Marilyn Light. We will be preparing a composite response in March/April. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Marilyn Light, Conservation Committee

U.S. District Court Supports USDA Enforcement for Endangered Plants

WASHINGTON: A U.S. District Court order has upheld the U.S. Deptartment. of Agriculture's method of enforcing international trade provisions protecting endangered plant species from being illegally collected from the wild for importation into the United States.

A November 16th. decision by District Judge Donald Graham of the Southern District Court of Florida affirmed USDA!s ability to determine upon the arrival of imported endangered plants at a USDA plant inspection station whether the plants had been collected from the wild or had been artificially propagated in a foreign nursery. The judgement also upheld the legal authority of USDA to seize shipments of plants that USDA determine to have been collected in the wild or that accurate information on accompanying export permits from signatory countries of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is lacking. Plant species listed in Appendix I cannot be commercially traded. The summary judgement sets a precedent by recognizing the abilities and efforts of USDA botanists and inspectors in effectively enforcing the plant provisions of CITES.

The British Paphlopedlium Society Newsletter, Winter 1995

Indonesian Wild Orchid Smuggler Convicted under the Endangered Species Act in the U.S.A.

SAN FRANCISCO: Michael J. Yamaguchi, United States Attorney for the Northern District of California announced that HARTO KOLOPAKING pleaded guilty yesterday to smuggling 1,346 tropical Lady's Slipper Orchids into Northern California in 1992 and 1993. A felony information was filed in the Northern District of California on November 4th., 1994 alleging the illegal importation of the endangered flowers. The guilty plea, which will most likely result in a ten to sixteen month federal prison term under the U.S. sentencing guidelines, was entered on November 28th, 1994 before U.S. District Court Judge Consuala B. Marshall in Los Angeles where KOLOPAKING was arrested in September 1994 after he sold 216 smuggled rare orchids to an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent who was posing as an orchid collector. KOLOPAKING also pleaded guilty to separate Los Angeles charges for smuggling the 216 orchids into the United States. This is the first prosecution of a smuggler of endangered orchids in the United States.

The case against KOLOPAKING was initiated in May 1993 when a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee at the Postal Services' Oakland Processing and Distribution Center discovered Lady's Slipper Orchids in packages from KOLOPAKING in Indonesia labelled "Sample Material". The plants were not accompanied by U.S. import or Indonesian export certificates as required by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna which is commonly referred to as CITES. It was determined that some 60 parcels containing the rare plants entered the United States through the Oakland mail facility in 1992 & 1993. (In the U.S. wild collected plants can command a price as high as $2,000). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, which controls the importation of endangered species, conducted a joint investigation with the U.S. department of Agriculture and contacted the U.S. consignees of the endangered plants and developed evidence against KOLOPAKING who was doing business as "C.V. Simanis Orchids" in Lawang, Java. When it was determined that KOLOPAKING was coming to the United States to negotiate further shipments with collectors of the rare plants, a "sting" operation was set up to develop further incriminating evidence against KOLOPAKING. KOLOPAKING was arrested after he agreed to take $12,695 for 216 plants. KOLOPAKING, age 28, will be sentenced by Judge Marshall on the San Francisco and Los Angeles charges on February 27th, 1995.

It is anticipated that a number of KOLOPAKING's customers will be indicted as the result of an ongoing Grand Jury investigation of the scheme to import the endangered plants into the United States.

The British Paphiopedilum Society Newsletter, Winter 1995


How much Tender Loving Care (T.L.C.) can your orchid take? Are we babying the plants so much they will not flower? Can we give less water and still have the flowers? I think so!

Obviously providing adequate light, air, water, temperature and nutrition is necessary for orchids to grow and thrive but sometimes we do not pay attention to the climatic conditions of the indigenous species that are the parents (or grandparents) of our hybrid plants. If a species like Sophronitis brevipedunculata would naturally have a cool dry period during the winter months in its native Brazil then we should be trying to match those conditions if we expect it to flower for us. Also the hybrids produced from this species would likely benefit from a dry cool period. You, of course, have to keep in mind that both parents may influence the growing conditions necessary and the farther away genetically you get from the species, the less influence the species has on the necessary climatic conditions.

What exactly is dry for an orchid plant? Please forget the false impression that orchids grow in steaming rainforests because most orchids do not live in such conditions. Think about nature, the orchid that is growing 20 feet up a tree and is attached to the bark gets water only when it rains. With the exception of the rainforest, there is seldom rain on a weekly basis let alone everyday. Now think about a natural dry season for this period of time. NO WATER is necessary. The Rupicolas Laelias are generally rock dwellers so they don't even hold any moisture around the roots, although the humidity may need to be increased during this time for some plants. Frequently the temperatures can also be reduced during the dry period. A great example of a dry period orchid is Dendrobium nobilis (and hybrids). They can be dry (NO WATER) from August 15 until November each year and still allow very high light. This causes some leaf drop but, more important, the flower buds develop on the stem and water should not be applied until the buds are visible.

Can you be this harsh on some of your orchids? You frequently hear about "rest period" for plants. These "rest periods" generally occur during cool dry and short day times of the year. In Edmonton, these conditions are met during the winter months. Sometimes dry means totally without water; other times dry means reduced watering. For example, normal watering may be every 4-6 days whereas a dry period is every 10-14 days. You simply reduce the amount of water added. In the case of reduced watering, the plant may lose leaves (there are some deciduous orchids) but, for sure, the orchid will not put on any new growth (roots, leaves or flowers). When watering is resumed, the plant usually starts flowering just like spring!

The length of the dry period is governed by several factors. The most important factor is what happens in nature. Dryness may occur from two weeks to several months. If you know the total time frame necessary, and allow the correct regime new growth and flowering will increase.

Another important factor is the temperature around the plant. The cooler the temperature the longer the plant can remain dry (as plants cool they use less water). Remember temperatures should never go below the natural temperature where the plant is found in the wild.

Humidity is not the most important growing factor for orchids (even though some references think it is) but does have a bearing on the so called dry period. Plants can and do absorb a tremendous amount of water through the stomata of the leaves and the aerial root system. Therefore, a humid atmosphere (still with no water being applied to the roots) will allow the orchid to obtain some moisture from the humid air and thus extended dry periods are possible w ithout damage to the orchid. I hope you are not confused by the difference between watering and humidity! To water a plant is to saturate the root zone; to add humidity is to increase the water particles in the air to near saturation point. (No visible water.)

All dry periods, no matter what length, will cause a change in plant growth, appearance and food production within the plant. The leaves may wilt, the first symptom of reduced watering, the leaves may turn yellow and drop off (this is not a problem if the orchid is a deciduous type), or pseudobulbs may shrivel up (I don't think any orchids without pseudobulbs would require a dry period) as the stored water is used up. For orchids in the Lycaste group, for example, the amount of "shrivel" determines when to start watering. Some plants may require a rest/dry/cool period to promote flowering. This list does not include all the species that are going to benefit by a dry period and I make no attempt to list or suggest hybrids that may benefit. Remember that there is likely to be some influence on water requirements from the species, but hybrids do get their "genes" from both parents. I have put together this list to help you get an orchid to flower that has not normally flowered for you under constant moist conditions. Try it - the results may be exciting. (If your existing watering program is working, do not change the program just to be more pure in a species culture.)

Acianthus caudatus
Amesiella philippinensis
Calanthe species
Broughtonia sanquinea
Dendrobium canaliculatum
Cycnoches species
Dendrobium kingianium
Dendrobium nobilis
(all deciduous types)
Dendrobium senile
Encyclia vitellina
(most rupicolas types)
Lycaste species
Oncidium barbatum
Oncidium concolor
Oncidium harrisonianum
Oncidium crispum
(all oncidium in this group)
Oncidium micropogon
Pleione species
Odontoglossum species (from lower altitudes)
Schomburghia fibicinis
Trichopilia fragrans

Gordon Heaps, Vice President, COC and member of the Orchid Society of Alberta


Just west of the city of Edmonton there is a natural area called the Wagner Bog that holds a treasure of orchids. It is not technically a bog, but rather a rich, spring fed calcareous fen. Its diversity of habitat, including calcareous marl ponds, open wet sedge fens, deep Black Spruce - moss - Labrador Tea woods and drier mixed forest around the edges, results in a wide diversity of plants including orchids. A vegetation study conducted by the Alberta Natural Areas Program in 1979, recorded seven species of orchids in the bog. Since then, searches conducted by the author and a number of other people have produced another nine species, bringing the list up to sixteen, What makes this especially significant is that the Natural Area is only about 1.5 square kilometres in extent and adjacent peatlands encompass another 2 square kilometres, and yet the number of species is over 60% of the twenty six species of orchids found in all of Alberta.

The average person going into the Wagner Bog in late June or early July to look for orchids, is likely to find four or five species. At that time, however, most of the 16 species are in bloom. Why the poor success? The reasons are not knowing where to look and how to look. Many of the orchids are restricted to very special habitat requirements. If one does not go to the exact ecological niche required by the orchid, one cannot expect to find the plant. Secondly, most people tend to look for large, showy orchids like the Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) and forget that many of our orchids are very small and inconspicuous. To find these tiny orchids, one often has to get down on hands and knees and literally check out every plant and leaf.

Following is an annotated list of the orchid species that are known to occur in the Wagner Bog and adjacent peatlands:

There is no doubt that with more searching more clumps of these orchids will be found, and some of the species that we now consider to be uncommon or rare, may prove to be more common. It would be nice to find all sixteen species on the Natural Area where they may get better protection. In addition, there are another four species that could be found in the area. They are: Striped Coral-Root (Corallorhiza striata), Northern Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia), Northern Twayblade (Listera borealis) and Broad-lipped Twayblade (Listera convallarioides).


Terry Thormin

Terry Thormin works as an entomologist for the Provincial Museum of Alberta. His interest in orchids stems from a strong interest in peatlands. At one time he grew up to 150 tropical orchids, but because of extensive travelling, was forced tp abandon this hobby.

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