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

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The Canada Issue - March 1994
Volume 6 - Number 2

Editor: Malcolm Adams


C.O.C. President's Message

And So To Winnipeg

As I sit here in Southern Ontario on the 8th of March the ground outside is still thickly covered with snow and there's a light snow falling. This has been our coldest winter on record and, with the economic climate thrown in, the worst winter I can remember. BUT out in my backyard, in a sheltered spot, there are snowdrops coming up, and I find myself going to have a look at them several times a day.......there's hope!!

In the greenhouse everything is very late and I worry over what will be in bloom to bring to WINNIPEG. But I seem to be the exception as there was a magnificent display of bloom at the London Orchid Society Show last weekend. Nothing chases the blues away so thoroughly as an orchid show and so we are all home, rejuvenated, and full of resolve to bloom our own plants bigger and better for next time.


Rosewitha never ceases to amaze me. With all her setbacks, she and her committee have performed miracles already but now she informs me that the Governor General of Canada will open the show!!!! Well done Winnipeg, a little national exposure is certainly welcome.


The Winnipeg society will be holding an auction on the Saturday evening and has graciously allowed the C.O.C. to hold a piggyback auction. Therefore we would like each attending representative to bring an auctionable plant, large or small, to help with our fund raising. And of course we'll find out who has won the high bid in our Mail-In auction. My fingers are crossed.

Charitable Status

Delegates should come prepared to discuss the issue of the C.O.C. seeking Charitable Status. At this time we are still looking for a treasurer who would be able to handle this additional task, so if you know of a able person, active or retired who might take this on for us please contact me immediately.


Today's choice of orchid hybrids is seemingly endless. With the thousands of hybrids being created each year, it is hard to believe that every possible combination has not been tried. However, such is not the case, and there exists the potential for numerous new hybrids. If you have a large collection of orchids, the time may naturally come when you would like to have a go at creating your own hybrid.

Creating orchid hybrids is surprisingly simple. With a few exceptions, crossing any two compatible orchids may result in a hybrid. However, this process should not be haphazard. There are thousands of hybrids on market today which are of inferior quality (many done by growers who crossed two orchids just for the heck of it). This does not mean you should necessarily aim for an HCC, FCC or AM; just anticipate how the hybrid could look, then judge for yourself. If the cross seems to have some potential, go for it. If not, do not bother (considering you may have to wait 4-8 years for the seedlings to bloom, you might as well be pleased with the outcome rather than disappointed).

The following are some hints which should maximize your chances of getting a successful hybrid.

The most common reasons for a cross to fail are:

I hope this will encourage some of you to try your hand at hybridizing. It can be very satisfying to see your own hybrid grow from seed to a blooming plant (even if it does take years).

Do not worry if your cross has already been made, for your seedlings may have quite a different form from the previously made cross. Even though most of the offspring may be poor, you may chance in to a FCC or AM. After all, even the professionals often have to rely on luck!

Todd Boland, President, Newfoundland Orchid society

Todd Boland is the President of the small (15 number) Newfoundland Orchid Society and lives in St John's. Todd contributed an excellent article on Dendrobiwn kingianum for a previous issue of the COC newsletter which was reproduced in many society newsletters across Canada.

Orchid History

In this part of the newsletter we shall introduce to our readers some historical persons from the orchid world, as well as, from time to time, other little pieces of orchid history as seen through the eyes of an orchid friend. This month it is Carl Von Linne.

Many of us have wondered how plants got their scientific names. The father of all modern plant classification is Carl Von Linne, also known as Linnaeus. He was born in Sweden, on the 24th of May 1707 and died in 1778. He developed an early interest in botany and physiology, studied medicine and other sciences, and eventually became a professor of medicine, and later, of botany. The Swedish government first aided his studies of the flora of Sweden; later, after much botanical research and several important botanical publications, Linnaeus had made a name for himself among his peers, and his most important contribution, the development of the bi-nominal system of plant classification, became universally accepted.

He generally studied the plants as dried herbarium specimens and accurately observed and described all their special attributes. So today we can easily sort out the different plant families.

In our favourite plant family,the orchids, we can even sort out the different species and if we can translate the Latin or Greek words, we can even understand them, like Cattleya forbesii = Mr. Forbes' Cattleya, Miltonia flavescens = yellow Miltonia, Oncidium pulchellum = pretty little Oncidium, Phalaenopsis violacea violet moth orchid. Thanks to Linnaeus' orderly mind, one can manage to make sense out of all those strange names.

Victoria Orchid Society newsletter of February, 1994

Canada Tour Diary

On the 10-11 February, 1994. COC President Annette Bagby met me off the plane in Toronto and drove me to her home in Mississauga where we spent the day looking at her orchids and talking about everything. Annette had scheduled one of her renowned dinner parties for that evening with 5 other guests. Both the wine and the conversation flowed freely!

The first lecture was at the RBG Orchid Society in Burlington. I was very nervous and I am sure it showed. Annette helped me unwind after the meeting when we sat up to the wee hours of the morning attacking a prized bottle of scotch.

12-13 Feb. On to London where I stayed with Judy and Bob Betts (not THE Bob Betts) who welcomed me into their home and made me feel part of the family. Bob works at home for IBM and we spent some time going over his specialized orchid show and orchid genealogy software.

Before the lecture on Sunday we visited Kilworth Orchids where owner Jim Eadie greeted me with 'Oh, you are Judy Adams husband' - my only claim to fame! The lecture went a little easier the second time around - a nice auditorium with a giant screen that made the diminutive Lepanthopsis astrophoria look like a large red Phalaenopsis.

14-16 Feb. The Prairies - flat, cold and lots of snow. In Regina I was hosted by Nora and Louis Robinson but my visit was marred when Nora was taken to hospital with a heart condition - fortunately not too serious - I hope that she is now fully recovered.

In Saskatoon my hosts were Pamela Mann and her husband. Pamela has a specially designed plant room in the basement of their beautiful new home where she grows a large collection of orchids.

The lectures in both Regina and Saskatoon were lightly attended, in part, because they were not on regular meeting nights.

17-19 Feb. The journey into spring! In Nanaimo (Parksville actually) I stayed with Stella and Mike Miller who had spring bulbs and shrubs in full flower in their garden. Mike informed me that one CVIOS member who lives in the Pacific Rim town of Tofino had cymbidiums in flower - outside!

It was a good meeting in Nanaimo with many questions asked. Members of the Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Victoria OS were also in attendance.

A side trip to Victoria - which really is a different world - had me spending my birthday with legendary Masdevallia grower Harry Evans and his charming wife D.A. Dinner, with guests Dorothy and Bob Cairns, was appropriately ended with a birthday cake complete with candles. The masdevallias were of course magnificent but I failed to persuade Harry to 'tell it all' in an article for the COCnews!

20-22 Feb. Calgary and my ex-Montreal friends Helma and Egon Dreise. I had a stimulating time with Egon viewing his very large collection of Masdevallia species, talking 'shop' in his laboratory and drooling over his 'Thesaurus Masdevallarium.

Another good meeting with the Foothills OS which was also attended by members of the Alberta OS who drove down from Edmonton.

On Tuesday we visited Lake Louise and after lunch at the Chateau we took an invigorating hike to the end of the lake and back. I think the Rockies are even more beauful in Winter than in the Summer.

23 Feb. Back to Montreal where I was greeted by my wife Judy in the middle of a snow-storm that dumped 25cm of the white stuff on the area - instant reality!

I would like to thank my hosts and all the other people who helped me on my way across Canada and back to Montreal - it really was a very satisfying, if tiring, experience. I hope that I didn't bore you all too much and that I managed to impart some of my enthusiasm for pluerothallids.

Malcolm Adam, Eastern Canada OS and Editor, COCNews

Dominant Characteristics in Orchid Breeding

One of the greatest pleasures of orchid breeding is to "bloom out" a hybrid cross and see what characteristics come to the fore. I have recent experience with two crosses:

  1. Cattleya Fruit Salad (C. Cherry Chip x aurantiaca) and
  2. Epicattleya Melon Surprise (Epidendrum pseudepidendrum x Cattleya Cherry Chip).

Cattleya Fruit Salad is essentially three species, C. aurantiaca, C. intermedia aquinii and C. walkeriana. Blooming siblings are all about 20 cm tall favour the C. walkeriana parent. Only one has bloomed with the typical extended multi-flowered inflorescence of C. intermedia while all have shown to a greater or lesser degree, the splash-petal/lip coloration of that parentage; the rest have carried two to five flowers arranged in a fan. The orange colouration of C. aurantica appears in 50% of the progeny; the rest have bloomed pale yellow. Interestingly, the C. aurantiaca lip shape does not dominate as might be expected. The long, narrow, pointed lip has been generally broadened under presumably the influence of C. walkeriana. It would be interesting to repeat this cross with superior parents.

Epicattleya Melon Surprise is just now showing its stuff. The first seedling bloomed in just under four years from pollination. Of course it helps that the Epidendrum matures its capsules in just 90 days! The plants are small but vegetatively resemble the Epidendrum. Ihe flowers are very large (7.4 cm span: lip 2.5 cm wide), clear yellow shading to sunset in the lip, and are held proudly above the foliage. Here the Epidendrum parent dominates plant appearance and flower shape while presumably the C. walkeriana in C. Cherry Chip has lent size to the flower while miniaturizing the plant. I would like to repeat this cross with a superior C. Cherry Chip parent.

Marilyn Light, Ottawa Orchid Society

Alberta Orchid Society 1994 Show

The weekend of February 12 and 13, 1994, Inge and I visited the Alberta Orchid Society Show in Edmonton, Alberta. This show and the society that produces it are always amazing for a number of reasons. First of all the weather in Alberta in February is chancy at best and seldom warm enough to carry orchids unprotected out of doors. Just think of the logistics of setting up and tearing down an orchid show when the outside temperatures are -20 to -30 C.

Further more, the Albertans ran a 10 day show in a set of wonderful public display houses, and build elaborate theme displays to entertain and enlighten the public. This year's theme was "A Galaxy of Orchids" and the Alberta Orchid Society display had a 15 foot diameter tilted rotating spacewheel within which flowering orchid plants travelled round and round for the 10,000 or more expected visitors to view.

The show had many beautiful and interesting plants. About 20 plants were nominated for AOS judging and 4 received AOS awards. From Martin Orchids, Paph. Maudiae 'Mike' received an HCC and Lycaste longipetalum 'Annelie' a CBR. Egon Dreise received a CHM for Masdevallia glomerosa 'Laval'and a CBR for Porroglossum terpetilabia 'Laval'. The AOS Show Trophy went to a very nice display by Gordon Heaps, the Orchid Digest Trophy was awarded to a display by the Foothills Orchid Society and the Canadian Orchid Congress Trophy was given to the elaborate Alberta Orchid Society theme display.

The Edmonton based Alberta Orchid Society has around 400 members, making it one of the largest orchid societies in Canada. The society has spawned the Orchid Species Preservation Foundation of Alberta which assists the City of Edmonton in maintaining a large and important collection of orchid species in some 3,000 square feet of public greenhouses. The combination of public and volunteer effort in orchid conservation is proving successful in a number of places.

Inge and I were just two of seven AOS judges brought in from outside of Alberta to judge the show, and like others, we much appreciated the Albertan hospitality and meeting new and old friends.

Peter Poot,Southern Ontario Orchid Society

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