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

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October 1997 - The Conservation Issue
Volume 9 - Number 3

Editor: Malcolm Adams



The 1998 COC Congress will be held in conjunction with the Eastern Canada Orchid Society's annual show ORCHIDFETE 1998. The location will be in the Day's Inn, 1005 rue Guy (corner of boul. Rene-Levesque) in down-town Montreal. The dates of the show are October 17 and 18, 1998. (Exhibit set-up will be on Friday, 16 October)

In addition to the COC Annual General Meeting there will also be six speakers - four in English and two in French. French/English - English/French translation of the speaker's text will be made available where possible. Question periods will be bilingual.

Tours will be organized for delegates and visitors to the Jardin Botanique de Montreal and the Biodome. For those who appreciate good food, Montreal's internationally renowned restaurants will welcome you.


Phragmipedium Equa-Bess (oops!)
As time goes on so does work done by taxonomists and the RHS. It is now accepted by the RHS that Phragmipedium ecuadorense is a distinct species, separate from P. pearcei and can be used as such in hybridization.

In my article on Phragmipedium besseae I stated that the correct parentage of P. Ecua-Bess is P. besseae x P. pearcei since P. ecuadorense is considered a synonym of P. pearcei by most taxonomists. The proper parentage of P. Ecua-Bess is once again P.besseae x P. ecuadorense. The hybrid between P. besseae and P. pearcei was registered and accepted by the orchid registrar of the RHS as P. Olaf Gruss by Franz Glanz. So please do not adjust your labels - at least not yet, until someone somewhere decides again that P. ecuadorense is actually only a variety, at best, of P.pearcei. See how easily confusion can start.

Ken Girard

The Conservation Committee Report - 1997

During the 1996-97 period, this Committee was active in several roles including: 1) the support of conservation efforts of member societies of the C.O.C.; 2) development of Conservation Award guidelines; and 3) the on-going correction of habitat data and photographic slides of native orchids towards development of slide programs for member societies.

CITES regulations and WAPRRITA regulations: The approach taken by CITES Parties in implementing the Convention does vary. CITES allows countries to adopt "stricter domestic measures" and for various reasons, Canada has had stricter measures than the US. Present discussions between the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada have identified a number of areas where regulatory approaches may be harmonized. This includes the 'Greenhouse Bench Certification Program' and other measures which should facilitate the movement of orchids into Canada that were purchased during trips to the United States. Because of the State by State legislation, the progress is slow.

Canadian environmental regulations continue their slow development. We understand that the process of regulatory development has finally begun and that this phase is expected to take two years. We continue to lobby for regulations that will favour both conservation initiatives and the interests of hobbyists across Canada.

In the C.O.C. Conservation Policy in 1995, Peter Poot (SOOS) made one very important suggestion for Committee and C.O.C. consideration: Our No.1 Objective at this point should be to have all of our orchid clubs and their members actively engage in conservation.

At the 1997 Annual meeting, a motion was made that the objective, namely, "that affiliated C.O.C. orchid clubs and their members actively engage in conservation', be adopted as policy by the C.O.C., and be implemented by member societies. The motion was passed at the Annual General Meeting held in Regina, May, 1997

Slide Program: A preview slide program was presented during the Congress in Halifax. Over 1996, we have received additional slides from Gordon Heaps, Bernie Huizing and Bud Ewacha. We have been able, with the aid of Yves Aubrey and colleagues of Les Orchidophiles de Quebec (Quebec City Orchid Society), to locate one single flowering plant of the elusive Listeria australis in a floating bog northeast of that city and photograph it. As the eventual slide collection will have an archival life of approximately 30 years, we plan on having the collection transferred to a compact disk format. We are fortunate in having a member of the Ottawa Orchid Society (Alain Erdmer) who is willing to transfer the slide images to CD (he gets to see all the beautiful flowers first!). We have purchased the glass master disks. Because a major cost of CD production is having the skilled labour and the equipment needed to transform the slides to digitized images, we are truly indebted to Alain for his effort now and as the project evolves. Any species not yet photographed will be dealt with next year. Field notes collected at the time of photography will be used as a database and for script writing.

Conservation Award: The first Annual COC Conservation Award of a gift certificate worth $100 in books was presented to the Manitoba Orchid Society at the Annual Congress in Regina. The submissions were assessed by two independent judges. The 1997-98 competition is now underway. Details follow later in this newsletter.

We applaud those individuals and clubs whose efforts have made a positive impact on the conservation of either native or tropical orchids. Your efforts are recognized and you do make a difference! We look forward to recognizing these efforts every year from now on.

Marilyn Light - Committee Chair



Any Societies or individuals worldng on a conservation project are encouraged to consider preparing a poster about their work for display at the WOC in Vancouver in 1999. More on this in subsequent issues.


In the late 1930's, Joseph Purdon discovered a small colony of Showy Lady's-slippers in a wetland on his farm in Lanark County, Ontario. (Readers may recall his work was a central theme of our video produced a few years ago) Through careful observation and experimentation, Joe was able to increase the colony to many thousand plants. Before he died, the property was acquired by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority. Until recently, they have been able to manage the property with government funding but this source has now been eliminated.

The MVCA want to continue to preserve and protect the orchids but they need help to do it. The public is invited "To Adopt an Orchid". For a $25 donation, the donor will be sent a Certificate of Adoption, a charitable tax receipt, and the donor's name will be added to a prominent display visible to all site visitors. Names are carved into appropriately sized wooden plaques and affixed to upright posts.

Anyone or any orchid society wishing to adopt an orchid are invited to contact the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, P.O. Box 268, Lanark, ON ROG 1KO. Tel: (613) 259-2421 Fax: (613) 259-3468.


In early June, 1997, a very exciting orchid conference was hosted by The Orchid Conservation Committee Inc, at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden, Sarasota, Florida. Four Canadians attended including James and Laura Biro (Vancouver O.S.), Lise Gobeille, Montreal Botanical Garden and Marilyn Light.


prepared by Kenneth A. Roberts, Chairman OC97:

"Orchid Conservation 97" is now over, however, the results of the conference we still very much under way and most likely will be for several more years. More about this later.

The basic intent of the conference was to present successful and positive conservation efforts currently being employed, with the hope that these efforts could be adopted in total or modified for use in other places. While it could be quite some time before any of the intended benefits of the conference could become apparent, the participants were unanimous in judging the conference as "good" or "excellent". Also the participants were unanimous in desiring to attend a second conference, when held.

The conference started off with a reception in a beautiful tropical area adjacent to the pool of the Hyatt Hotel. Most everyone was able to arrive in time to participate in the evening activities, the most important of which was the meeting and talking with other conference participants and speakers.

The conference was opened the following morning by myself, as Conference Chairman. Mark Bierner, Executive Director Marie Selby Gardens, welcomed the participants and an opening address was provided by Elmer Spence, President of The Orchid Conservation Committee. Additional speakers for the day were Eric Hagsater discussing, Conservation from a Mexican Perspective", Richard Warren talking on "Practical Conservation in Brazil - Assessment of Vulnerability", James Ackerman addressing "Inferring Genetic Diversity and Gene Flow from Patterns of Floral Variation in Orchids, and the Bearing of these Factors on Conservation", Jonathan Driller introducing "Orchid-Net - A Communication Network and Seed Banking for the Future", Alexander Sulecki talked on "A Proposed New Orchid Conservation Project for the Big Cypress Basin", John Beckner addressed "Orchid Conservation Beyond the Nineteenth Century", and finally a panel discussion was conducted between the participants and a panel made up of Vinciane Dumont, Robert Gabel and John Beckner, addressing orchid conservation issues in general, but in particular, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The day was rounded out with a reception in the foyer of the Botanical Gardens, which included tours of the behind the scenes areas of the Botanical Garden and greenhouses.

Day two of the conference started off with Francia Smith discussing "The Greening of Education", continuing with Raul Rivero presenting "Targeting Orchids and Other Epiphytes in a Conservation Education Program in Costa Rica", Katie Sokolski dazzling the participants with "Restoration of Lady Slippers Using Tissue Culture", Lawrence Zettler discussing "Terrestrial Orchid Conservation Through Symbiotic Seed Germination", Carson Whitlow addressing "Cypripedium, CITES and a Philosophy of Conservation", Raymond Tremblay presenting "Lepanthes caritensis, an Endangered Orchid Species? No Sex - No future", and Stephen Buchmann presenting "Remembering the Forgotten Pollinators: Conserving and Protecting Native Plants and Their Pollinators". The text of these presentations will all be published in volume 18, of SELBYANA.

The final half of the afternoon session of the second day, was used to discuss with all participants the potential for generating a proposal to downlist certain non-endangered orchids from CITES, and was scheduled to also address the topics of Hand Pollination in the Field, Rescue of Orchids From Endangered Habitats, and the Reintroduction of Rescued Plants into Previously Known Habitats. Unfortunately, not enough time was allocated to this portion of the conference because the topics dealing with Rescue, Reintroduction and Hand Pollination could not be discussed. The consideration of a proposal to downlist, being a very controversial and complicated issue, consumed all of the available time and had to be curtailed with the formation of a committee to draft, review with all the participants, and finalize the desires of the conference participants. In the time since the end of the conference considerable effort has been invested in the redrafting of the proposals and transmitting them to the committee. When completed the final draft will be provided to each of the participants for review and comment. The other topics have also been incorporated into draft resolutions for dispersal to the participants for their review and comment of particular interest is that an INTERNET site; with a special Chat Room is being established for discussing these topics. This discussion will be open to anyone that wishes to participate.

The intent of the downlisting proposal is to (a) remove those orchids from CITES 11 that are not endangered; (b) prepare an identification handbook to clearly identify those species or genera that continue to require protection; (c) reduce the identification burden of those orchids remaining on either of the CITES list, by the importing country's inspection officials and (d) allow freer trade in non-endangered orchids. The intent of the other topics is to propose recognition of these techniques as viable conservation measures and to recommend their use when appropriate.

Once the proposal to downlist has been reviewed and approved by the majority of the conference participants, it is planned to be presented to the CITES Plants Committee, meeting in Chile during November 1997. Several official country convention representatives, who will be participating in the Plants Committee meeting, have agreed to present the proposal for consideration. If the Plants Committee agrees, understandably after careful consideration and thorough review, then the proposal will be submitted as a potential agenda item to be consideration by the llth Conference of the Parties (COP) to CITES (to be held in about two years).

If the other topics can be completed in time they may also be presented for consideration by the Plants Committee in Chile, however these proposals are not as mature nor as important as the down listing proposal, so may have to be presented at a later date.

While it may appear that there is plenty of time to accomplish all of these tasks, this is not the case. It will take everyone working together, responding in a reasonable time, and keeping an open mind to insure that these proposals are given proper consideration by the COP. We will continue to update everyone on our progress.

The Conference closed with a very enjoyable banquet at the Hyatt Hotel. The Keynote Speaker was The Honorable Sir Alasdair Morrison, the immediate past Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society, Orchid Committee. Dr. Morrison started off explaining some of his personal history so that the participants could understand what had formulated and significantly influenced his perspective on conservation. He included insightful information on CITES and some of the problems currently under review by the COP. He supported the efforts of the Conference and provided suggestions on the proper methodologies to accomplish these goals. His talk will also be included in the upcoming issue of SELBYANA.

While I may be slightly prejudiced, I think the conference was a success and that the other participants had an enjoyable and educational time. I hope all of us that participated can employ some of what we learned to conserve orchids.


At the orchid conservation conference, time did not allow a thorough treatment and resolution to some important questions, and the idea for an internet chat was born. The subject matter of the first two chats held on August 13 and on August 20 was the downlisting proposals; other subjects will be covered in subsequent chats, tentatively Scheduled for the second Wednesdav of every month at 8 pm EDT.

TO JOIN ORCHIDSAFARI and take part in future conservation discussions. You will need a computer, internet service with Netscape 3.0 or higher OR Microsoft Explorer.

Please make free registration at WBS, the registration page is:

To Login, go to the same URL where you registered. (

This is the OrchidSafari doorway - BOOKMARK this page for future entry.

All those registered for a conservation chat will receive a transcript of the session as well as update mailings. Hope to "chat" with you soon about orchid conservation!


(part of the transcript)

A continuation of the discussion on proposed downlisting of species not affected by trade from Article II of the current CITES agreement. Chaired by Marilyn Light of Ottawa, Canada and participation by the TOCC and OrchidSafari members.

PRESENT during the discussion were persons from Florida to California, from Canada, Australia and Peru.

marilyninOttawa. In order to further clarify the proposal and to better focus today's discussion on the benefits to orchid conservation which will be derived from it, Elmer Spence of the Orchid Conservation Committee Inc. (TOCC) has prepared a problem statement and the proposed solution. PROBLEM STATEMENT prepared by Elmer Spence, TOCC.

TOCC believes that, for orchids, CITES and the methods used by governments to enforce its provisions are not serving the conservation purposes originally intended. Instead, the process is killing or causing to be killed many more orchids than are being conserved by the convention. This opinion is based on personal experiences of members of TOCC and others who have informed TOCC of their direct experiences. The provisions of CITES also prevent or hinder scientific research in orchids and prevent nearly all efforts to rescue orchids in eminent danger of destruction. It is apparent that some changes in CITES' approach to orchids are needed. PROPOSED SOLUTION - TOCC sees a solution to the problem. Since the process of trade, as defined by CITES, endangers relatively few species and since these species can be grouped into even fewer taxonomic groups,TOCC proposes an enforcement procedure which will be focused at taxonomic groups instead of species. All genera and taxonomic groups containing species which are determined appropriate for listing would be listed on CITES I, II, or III categories and all species in those listed genera and taxonomic groups would be subject to enforcement procedures deemed appropriate by the governments. This will allow printed material to be prepared for the use of enforcement personnel which can be learned with minimum to moderate training. Once trained, inspectors will be able to determine if a plant is contained within one of the listed taxonomic groups, whether in-bloom or not, based upon the line drawings and descriptive information.

TOCC will prepare that information, in draft form, if this proposal is accepted. We will provide that draft information to the United States agencies responsible for developing enforcement information and procedures, and we will provide consultation to them, if they wish, in order to develop the final information to be used by enforcement personnel. End of statment

ORCHIDACEAE: Taxa for Downlisting from CITES Appendices I & II

Note:Classification follows Dressler, 1993.

Exceptions: Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium (including Mexipedium, which is not in Dressler), European Cypripedium spp.
Exceptions: All tribe Orchideae from Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. Possible exceptions: Spp. of Australia and New Zealand, making up most genera and spp. of Tribe Diurideae. Disa spp. from South Africa.
Tribes:Arethuseae Calypsoeae Coelogyneae (possible exception: Pleione) Cymbidieae (exceptions: Cymbidium, Eulophiella, Ansellia) Dendrobineae (possible exceptions: spp. of Dendrobium Section Dendrobium) Epidrendreae (exceptions: spp. of Cattleya, Laelia, Sophronitis, Quisqueya) Gastrodieae Nervileae Malaxideae Maxillarieae (exceptions: Lycaste, Anguloa, Psychopisis) Neottieae Palmorchideae Pleurothallidinae (exceptions: Masdevallia, Dracula) Podochileae Triphoreae Vandeae (exception: spp. of Phalaenopsis, Doritis, Kingidium, Nothodoritis, Paraphalaenopsis, Vanda and Euanthe, Aerides, Ascocentrum, and Renanthera imschootiana) Vanilleae


by John Beckner, of The Orchid Conservation Committee, Inc.


A:Who is "we"? CITES is an international treaty, signed by most nations. It is not just orchids; in fact, it is mostly about animals. So whoever wants to just sweep it aside is dreaming. What we need is to realistically try to improve the system, working within it, and following the available procedures. For over two decades orchid growers have been talking about CITES. Now, we propose to try to act. This is a good time, since CITES is under heavy pressure from African countries (and others). Also, CITES follows an inflexible long term schedule. If we act now, it may go into effect in 2 years. If we wait, it will take 5, 7, or 10 or more years.


A: Which are? Do you have a list of them, with documented evidence? There is also the precautionary and recognition problems. Laelia lobata is on CITES I. Laelia purpurata and others are on CITES II. How do Customs and Agriculture inspectors tell these apart, when not in flower? That is how they come in. So all are under some degree of control.


A: Collecting is based ultimately upon the market. No one is going to sell more than a few plants of most botanicals. Perhaps 10, or at most 100 plants. Wild orchid populations are mostly very much larger than this. Go to any large orchid show and note how few plants are sold, even of some moderately showy species. Even at minimal prices.


A: The important word is "known". These species are known from along roads, etc. There is often wild rugged country up to a 100 miles wide nearby. Roadside colonies are usually the result of seed blowing in from somewhere else. When that somewhere else is in the top of a large tree, growing on a steep mountainside in dense vegetation, it will not be noticed. Actually, most orchids known from just one colony tend to be recently discovered, in newly explored areas. Even then, botanists may collect it once, then ignore other colonies in the area, in order to focus on finding further new species.


A: It is a tempting idea, and would be fair. After all, they were all put on CITES as a group, without any real justification. But we need to be realistic. So drastic a move doesn't stand a chance. We want to do what we can, not waste our effort. If we could achieve the proposed downlisting, that would be a huge gain. We at TOCC, or anyone else anywhere, can make further proposals after that.


A: We are open to ideas, changes, etc. in what we propose. So tell us, but make it specific and give detailed reasons, please. We've already spent a year looking at possibilities, but we have certainly not covered all of them, nor do we have all the facts. But remember also, that you, or anyone, can make your own proposals independently. CITES has procedures, and you need to follow them, but this is not all that difficult.


A: Are they? We doubt that there is any real evidence. And since many feel that CITES is ineffective, what protection will this give them? Then there is the new regulation, as of June, that hybrids in world trade must have complete legal documentation of their ancestral plants. If this becomes a policy of demanding such documents for anything in a greenhouse (and that could easily become the interpretation in some countries), what happens?


A: We doubt that all can be downlisted. So we selected those that seemed to be very little or not at all in trade. The major horticultural genera were left as is.


A: Read the advertising in major orchid magazines. Also, consult p.44 of the IUCN Action Plan, which gives figures.


A: Read the innumerable items in orchid magazines over the last 25 years. Read the IUCN Action Plan. Read Mariano Ospina's Orchids and Ecology in Colombia, to the Rescue of Paradise. Read TOCC's journal Aa. Read the OrchidNet material. Read The Evolution of CITES. Read this year's Selbyana Part 1 is available; Part 2 with the Orchid Conservation 97 conference proceedings will be out in a few months. Read Koopowitz's book. Read the journal Plant Talk. Read the journal Conservation Biology. Read...many more.


A: We do not propose to do anything about these, at least for now. Anyone who wants to propose additions or down listings can do so, but we want to concentrate our efforts on the proposal we are offering, which excludes dealing with them.


A: We wish we knew. Apparently they include Christmas cacti, grafted cacti, and such mass-production orchids as hybrid Phalaenopsis "Den-Phals', etc. But we have not yet seen a list nor a definition.



Please Mail, Fax or e-mail your response to:
Marilyn Light, Conservation Committee, COC,
174 Jolicoeur St. Hull, Qubec J8Z lC9
Tel:(819) 776-2655 Fax: (819) 776-3703


Please bring the following to the attention of your orchid affiliations:
The Barbara Everard Trust for Orchid Conservation seeks to improve and encourage the conservation of rare orchids, both species and hybrids, particularly those in collections. Project that can be shown to improve prospects of orchid conservation in this area will be considered for grants that will not exceed $1,500.

Proposals should not be more than two pages typed, double-spaced and should explain how the proposed work will benefit orchid conservation. The proposal should discuss the scope of the work, personnel involved, and include a timetable and a budget including other sources of income. Include names of two referees [references?].

Anyone may apply for these grants, which will be given for three years. Send applications and supporting materials to Mrs. J. Kelleher, Barbara Everard Trust, 120 Crofton Road, Orpington, Kent, United Kingdom BR6 8HZ. The deadline is September 31 [sic]. Phillip Cribb placed this info in the AOS Orchids, and is one of the trustees of the Everard Trust.

San Diego Orchid Society

The Conservation Committee of the San Diego County Orchid Society asks for proposals from people and organizations actively involved in orchid conservation. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing loss of orchids and orchid habitats worldwide. We want to support efforts to:
* Protect orchids in the wild.
* Establish and maintain organizations to protect orchids and orchid habitat.
* Conduct studies relating to orchid conservation.
* Establish and maintain programs encouraging orchid conservation.
* Educate the public about conservation in general and orchid conservation in particular.

Please send us:
A description of the project to be funded. Cover the goals of the project, the methods to to be used, the relevance of the project to our objectives, and how the money will fulfill your particular needs.

A detailed budget, specifying a definite amount of money and the use of the funds. We expect to distribute up to US$5000 per year.

To benefit as many programs as possible, we encourage requests for up to $2000. However, larger requests will be considered. There is no minimum request. Although we will consider applications related to multiyear projects, at this time we cannot make commitments for more than one year. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 1997. Applicants will be notified by January 1,1998.

Applications should be sent to Peter S. Tobias, SDCOS Conservation Committee, 5040 Milton Street, San Diego CA 92110 USA. Inquiries can be sent to this address or by e-mail to

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