January 2004

This is a recovered text only newsletter originally hosted on the old Pan American Orchid Society website. Pictures were unable to be restored.



Pan American Orchid Society


Affiliated with the American Orchid Society


When: January 20, 2004, 7:30 pm

Christ The King Lutheran Church

11295 S.W. 57 Avenue (Red Road)


Dear members and friends,


What a fantastic Holiday Party! I hope you were able to attend. This year Mirta Heineman did an outstanding job of organizing and pulling everything together along with the help of dozens of our fellow members. A very big thankyou to all who helped in the setup and clear-up. I think the special dishes members brought make this the best Club dinner in Miami. Our Holiday plants continue to be the best in South Florida and all the more reason to start the New Year with an aim of perfect attendance so that you can receive two holiday plants this coming December at the next Holiday Party.


This yearís award winners were:

    1. $50 to Jorge & Ivis Rodriguez – 38 blue ribbons
    2. $40 to Bert Pressman – 34 blue ribbons
    3. $30 to Carmen Segrera ñ 30 blue ribbons
    4. $20 to Edwin deJesus ñ 29 blue ribbons
    5. $10 to Jean Wilson ñ 17 blue ribbons


This monthís Speaker:. This month we are again sharing our speaker with the COS society who hold their meeting the evening before ours at Fairchild Tropical Garden. The following comes from the COS newsletter so you might want to listen to the first part of the program next Monday.

“Our last speaker, Dr. Harold Koopowitz apprised us of the legal complications flowing from the discovery in Peru of the fabulous Phragmipedium kovachii. Our first speaker for 2004, Peter Croezen of Toronto, Canada, will provide yet another perspective on “The Great Phrag Caper”, which is continuing to play out. By now we should all be familiar with the broad outlines of the saga:

Michael Kovach smuggled a strikingly large and beautiful Phragmipedium out of Peru, in violation of CITES and other local regulations, and brought it to Selby Gardens for formal description in Selbyana. In exchange, he stipulated that the orchid be named after himself as Phragmipedium kovachii. In the ensuing legal proceedings, Selby has pleaded guilty of a misdemeanor and has agreed to be placed on probation for a year, pay a $5,000 fine and put ads in various orchid periodicals explaining what it has done wrong. Dr. Wes Higgens, a former COS Speaker and present Director of the Selby Orchid Identification Center, has agreed to a fine of $2,000 and a half year of House Arrest. Several of the Selby Board Members, who were also large donors, have resigned. At this juncture, the legal fate of poor Michael Kovach is yet to be adjudicated

Peter Croezen knows most of the principals concerned with the “Pk” saga, both here and in Peru, as well as the several microhabitats in which Pk has been found. The details of his story make previous orchid best sellers like “The Orchid Thief” and “Orchid Fever” pale by comparison. Orchids are fascinating, intriguing, captivating and insidious. Be sure not to miss this one.

The following evening, Peter will present a somewhat tamer talk on “Orchids of Peru and Their Habitats,” to the Pan Am Orchid Society, which meets in Christ the King Lutheran Church on Red Road at 7:30 PM.”

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Itís a New Year and membership dues are due: This year your Board has decided that the membership dues will have to be increased to $15 for a single member and we have had to eliminate the discount for two members living at the same address. This last year we spent over $4,000 on plants for members. The increase is necessary so that we do not have an annual deficit and we can continue to provide members with the beautiful plants at the Holiday Party and also pay for the interesting speakers at our monthly meetings. See Suzie LaPlant to renew your membership and get your 2004 card.


Cookie bakers for this month: Your cookie bakers or buyers for the January meeting are:


Mirta Russis Heineman, Dale LaPlant, Maria McMurry, Rose Miller, Nadeen Welch.


Thank you all for your time and culinary skills.


Upcoming events:


January 16-18 – Fort Lauderdale Show, War Memorial Auditorium

January 17, 18, 19 – Redland Natural Art Festival, Fruit & Spice Park

January 17, 18 ñ Beaux Arts Festival of Art, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami

January 22-March 11 ñWeekly Ceramics class at Coral Gables Youth Center (305-460-5339)

January 30-Feb 1 – Greater Miami Show [new], Youth Fairgrounds

March 5-7 – Miami International Orchid Show, Coconut Grove Auditorium

April 2-4 – International Orchid Festival, Fairchild Tropical Gardens

May 14-16 – Redlands International Orchid Festival, Fruit & Spice Park


Culture Section: (from Martin Motesí January newsletter)


Cold Temperature Tolerance of Different Orchids


One major obstacle for neophyte growers is understanding the diversity of cultural requirements of various genera of orchids. Orchids are such a vast group of plants which have succeeded in nearly every conceivable habitat on earth, that knowledge of a specific generaís cultural requirements rather than a general knowledge of what “orchids” like is necessary to successfully cultivate the various types. Most cultivated orchids come from tropical regions but differences in elevation and other geographic features of their native habits can mean dramatic differences in the response of orchids to various external conditions. Most emphatically these differences can be seen in different generaís toleration of cold. While some orchids are native to regions where frost is more the norm than the exception, others are hyper-tropical plants for whom 50 F is far too cool. Knowing which is which is essential in a mixed collection of orchids. A great irony for beginners is to discover that their extra nurturing efforts to protect certain orchids has in fact done more harm than good.

Dendrobiums are among the most confusing for new orchid growers. This huge genus, well over a thousand species divided into 15 sections, ranges over nearly a quarter of the planet. Found from western Indian all the way to Micronesia, dendrobiums inhabit an incredible variety of ecological niches. Ironically, the two sections most common in horticulture are diametrically opposite in cold tolerance. Section Dendrobium, the soft bulb or “nobile types” whether in their pendulous forms like D. anosum and aphyllum or in the upright types like D. nobile and its hybrids, positively relish the cold. Temperatures right down to frost are the best culture to produced the most prolific blooming of these plants. Without cold and drought stress in winter these plants will retain their leaves and produce an abundance of vegetative growths but few if any flowers. Stressed by cold and dried out properly these plants lose all their leaves and in spring the bare bulbs are covered in flowers. Au contraire for the “hard cane” dendrobiums of sections Spatulata and Phalaenanthe. Loss of leaf on D. phalaenopsis types is usually indicative that they have suffered from too much cold. Temperatures below 60 F can produce this undesirable effect.


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D. phalaenopsis and evergreen types should receive the maximum cold protection. Other sections of the genus have slightly different tolerances. Section Callista, D. farmerii, D. lindleyii (aggregatum) and their relatives can take temperatures nearly as low as the nobile types and will bloom all the better for exposure to temperatures in the 30’s. Section Formosae, D. formosum, D. infundibulum and the new hybrids prefer slightly warmer conditions but are quite happy with temperatures in the 40’s. Other sections of Dendrobium in cultivation such as Pedilonium, Latouri, and the Australian hybrids of section Dendrocorne have slightly different requirements and those growing these more “exoticíí will succeed best in researching them. Try B. Lavarack et al. Dendrobium and its Relatives, Timber Press.

After the cold sensitive “hard cane ” dendrobiums, Phalaenopsis are the most tender of commonly grown orchids. Phalaenopsis will be strongly induced to bloom by temperatures in the mid 50’s. A few exposures to temperatures below 60 will produce the desired spikes and thereafter the plants will be happiest if they are kept above 60. One or two nights down to 50 F or slightly below will do little harm but are to be avoided in the best kept collection.

Vandas come next on the scale of sensitivity. Like phals they are stimulated to bloom with sharp drops of temperature unto the 50s, especially when the temperature can be induced to climb into the 80’s by day. Vandas will tolerate brief excursions into the upper 40’s but are best keep above 50 degrees. Temperatures below 50 for very long or very often will produce the tinkling sound of falling Vanda leaves, turning the plants into palm trees.

Oncidiums of the “mule ear” type with thick fleshy leaves(O. luridum, lanceanum etc.) Have warmth requirements similar to vandas. The thinner leafed Oncidineae will usually take temperatures into the 40’s with aplomb. Many of the hybrids in this group have been bred to Miltoniopsis and to Odontoglossum to increase their cold tolerance. A caution with this group is the ability of wind to strip heat rapidly from their thin leaves. The cold tolerance of these will be much greater in still air.

With the exception of some species of Amazonian origin like Cattleya violacea, most cattleyas can take quite cool temperatures. Most growers have few concerns for them even in temperatures down to the upper 40’s. They must, however be protected from both frost and freeze. Be extra cautious on those clear still nights when the temperature drops to the 30’s.

In addition to the cold loving nobile dendrobiums, certain other genera from the high Himalayas such as deciduous Calanthe and Cymbidium species and hybrids actual require quite cold temperatures to stimulate them to their best bloom. Even “warm growing, temperature tolerant” hybrid cymbidiums flower best when chilled repeatedly into the low 30’s.

All orchids tolerate cold best when they have proper nutrition. Avoid too much nitrogen which might stimulate too soft of growth and increase the dosage and frequency of application of both magnesium and potassium in colder weather.


Holiday Party Table Awards


1st Place Mirta Russis Heineman

2nd Place Lori Wigley

3rd Place Gail Weber


See you all January 20, 2004 at 7:30 pm