NEWSLETTER March 2003
Venezuela, Coryanthes: Discoveries
and Discoverers, by Dr Gernot Bergold.
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Doritis pulcherrima chompornense
Dendrobium mimiense, Cattleya deckerii,
Aerangis distincta, Barkeria
chinense Yellow, Cattleya
gaskelliana alba x self,
Cymbidium canaliculatum sparkesii,
Domingoa hymenoides, Vanda sanderiana
"Jacqueline" FCC x self
Venezuela, Coryanthes: Discoveries
and Discoverers, by Dr Gernot Bergold.
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Doritis pulcherrima var chompornense. Dendrobium schroederianum. Doctor
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suave. This small growing species
produces spikes of clear green flowers with a darker spot in the labellum.
It is an inhabitant of hollow tree branches in open forest and thus requires
maximum sunlight and air movement. It grows from warm to intermediate conditions
and is native to eastern Australia.
Dendrobium schroederianum. This very beautiful
warm growing species originally from Indonesia, is the forebear of the
modern Phalaenanthe Dendrobium hybrids. Best grown in a small pot or basket
with lots of water and fertiliser while growing and a decided dry rest
in the cooler months. AKA Dendrobium phalaenopsis var schroederianum
Promeneae paraenaense. A Brazilian species, one of about
half a dozen yellow flowered species that are often confused and mixed
in with P xanthina. Best grown in a small pot or basket in a media that
will stay damp but not soggy, heavy shade and a drier rest during the cooler
months. A minature species with proportionally large flowers, cool to intermediate
Doritis pulcherrima chompornense. A Thailand species
that grows semiterrestrially, so it is best grown in a container in a media
that will drain well, with perhaps a little more light than that required
by Phalaenopsis, to which it is closely related.
This is the labelloid form where the petals take on the form of the
Dendrobium mimiense. Flowering
size plants established on pieces of cork bark, grown under bright light
in a well ventilated spot. Frequent watering in the growing season is required
and a dry rest in winter. The flowers are produced in clusters along the
stem, white and green. A New Guinea species very similar to Dendrobium
Dendrochilum magnum This
large growing Philippines species requires a large shallow container or
basket under typical Dendrobium conditions of shade and good ventilation.
These are six inch pot large clumps specimens. The flowers are borne on
long arching spikes and are sparkling orange to yellow orange. A warm grower,
Cattleya deckeri. A
species also known as Cattleya skinnerii var autumnalis as the flowers
are similar but appear in autumn. The dusky rose flowers are large, sparkling
textured and borne in clusters, a showy species that will develop into
a specimen. Plants are growing well in 80mm basket pots.
A minature grower with large showy flowers. See link for growing details.
Aerangis distincta . An African species, typically white
fragrant flowers with a spur. best grown on a slab or in a small basket
with excellent drainage and good shade. A dwarf angraecoid.
Barkeria chinense Yellow . This is a small growing species
from Mexico with almost nodding spikes of delicate pale yellow flowers
spotted red on the labellum. Does best in a small pot or basket or on a
slab with extra water. In winter the plants will go dormant and should
be held dry until the new leads appear.
gaskelliana alba x self .A robust grower with large showy flowers.
See link for growing details.
canaliculatum sparkesii. The dark maroon flowered form. See link for
Domingoa hymenoides. A dwarf drowing species somewhat
like a Broughtonia. The tall spikes bear pale translucent green striped
purple flowers. Best grown in a very small pot or on a slab with extra
water. Intermediate grower from Cuba.
Vanda sanderiana "Jacqueline" FCC x self .The Queen
of the Vandas. Huge flowers of pale rose and darker colours. Requires a
basket with an open well drained media and warm humid conditions. This
is one of the original awarded clones in Australia and exhibits the true
species colours and characteristics. Philippines.
Species highlighted are links to photos.
More photos at www.speciesorchids.com/photos.html
Coryanthes: Discoveries and Discoverers in Venezuela
#The history of Coryanthes research in Venezuela.
Gernot Bergold, Caracas, Jan.29,03.
( Dr Gernot Bergold passed away on 5th February 2003 at the
age of 91. His unfinished notes are published here, incomplete. Photo of
Gernot with a large Coryanthes plant and seed pod taken 2002.)
My first serious interest in Orchids begun during my first visit
to Venezuela for an invited lecture about Insect Viruses at IVIC , June
to December 1957. I collected some orchids and took them back to Canada.
When I came back (with
the orchids) to stay in 1958 to organize the virus-research at IVIC, I
made contact with Prof.Dr. E.Foldats, professor at the Jardin Botanico
in Caracas, a young medical Student Carlos Garcia Esquinell
and other orchid enthusiasts. However the main impact was my friendship
and tutors with G.C.K.Dunsterville (Stalky) an oil engineer (and president
of Shell) and his wife Nora, which lasted until Staky's death in
We made many orchid hunts all over Venezuela,and
never, never had the slighest argument. Whenever I found an
Orchid in flower I rushed to Stalky , who immedeately, day or night, made
a perfect drawing of the live plant. He refused, absolutely correctely,
to dry and press any orchid,. His work resulted in the 6 big standard,
world-famous volumes "Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated" and numerous
One day Carlos Esquinell got a Coryanthes
in flower in Las Calderas, rushed back to Caracas to Stalky who drew
it right away .Garay identified it wrongly as Coryanthes biflora. This
was the beginning of Coryanthes research in Venezuela.
me once to Calderas and we collected another Coryanthes, which was supposed
to be Coryanthes maculata. At that time little was known about Coryanthes
in general. The discovery by Dodson that certain bees fertilized Coryanthes
in a rather complicated way increased the general interest.
By the late 1960s I had
collected quite a few Coryanthes, including a Coruyanthes macrantha in
Trinidad in 1962. In Caldera I met Julio Laguna, who became over the years
until now a dear friend who collected most of the Coryanthes gernotii,
bruchmülleri and recently C.lagunae over many years. Without him my
research of Coryanthes would have been impossible.
In 19 a student
of mine had become aquainted with Günter Gerlach, gardener at
the Heidelberg Botanical Garden and they visited me. I showed them my Coryanthes
slides, which impresssed Gerlach so much that he decided to continue his
studies at the University.
He choose "The Genus of Coryanthes" together
with Rainer Schill as his Disertation, which was published in 1993 and
became the standard book ever since, stimulating decisively the Coryanthes
Gerlach visited Venezuela often and
we collected jointly in Pto.Ayacucho.There Carlos Gomez, a Bare Indian
working for Malariologia, who collected orchids for many years for Gustavo
Romero, helped me for years untill to date to collect Coryanthes. Without
this very intelligent and cooperative friend all my research of Coryanthes
would have been imposible.
Gerlach's interest is mainly about the importance of bees for Coryanthes
and he refuses to consider using modern biochemical, genetical , DNA, RNA
analysis methods for species identification.
In the meantime Dr.Gustavo Romero finished his study at the Cornell University
and accepted a position in the south in Puerto Ayacucho and he and his
very nice Swiss wife Peggy were promised reasonable living quarters
a few degree from the equator. However this promise was never kept, so
they got tired of sleepng in hammocks and Gustavo decided to quit.
So when Harvard offered a position Gustavo applied and asked me for a recommendation
to the Dean of Harvard, who I already knew from previous work with
viruses. So he got the job and the dean thanked me. Gustavo seemed to be
satisfied with the decision and we corresponded frequently.
A good friend of mine for many
years, the famous Swiss photografer Karl Weidmann and Editor Armitano decided
to published a book of Venezuelan Orchids. So Gustavo was asked to select
about 200 fotos of the 1000s of Karls, many of them taken in my orquidario.
They needed about 50 more and asked me for fotos. Having also close to
1000 I offered them GRATIS. Gustavo selected about 40. It was
verbally agreed about that as authors, Romero, Weidmann and Bergold would
be mentioned. There were some difficulties in judging the colors and I
offered Ermitano and Gustavo to help gratis, but this was however
When the Spanish version appeared. Karl and I were surprised that
our names were not mentioned as co-authors and many colors were quite wrong,
which of course could not be corrected in the English and German version,
although at least Karl and I was mentioned on the cover. All this was a
great disappointment for me also that he refuses to consider---like
Gerlach-- modern methods ---biochemical, genetical-DNA, RNA analysis for
species identification and still not doing anything to change this
stupid drying and pressing of orchids. All communication between my previous
friend Gustavo ceased which I very much regret. I wrote Gustavo a letter
recently to try to make peace----but no answer.
meantime several new Coryanthes species have been found in Venezuela
and in other Central and South American countries, followed by the usual,
unpleasent discussions about their identifications. This is not surprising
as long as the botanical authorities of the world keep using old fashoned---but
easy ---methods. I have no inclination whatsoever to discuss taxonomic
questions here, but only emphasize and repeat that
(1) drying and pressing orchid flowers
is an absolute inadequate method for preservation.
As Dunsterville has shown, drawings
and color fotographas of the L I V E plant and flower and subsequent
preservation in a proper liquid is an ABSOLUTE requirement for preservation
and storage of orchids flowers. This Dunsterville told me repeatedly
and shortly before he died asked me to :promise to do anything to realize
(2) All botanical institutions and commercial
growers worldwide, should only be permited to collect, cultivate and display
orhids if they spent at least a third of their budget for multiplication
of orchids. This should be supervised by a well trained biochemist, having
the knowhow and familiar with modern genetical methods. Any financial
profit of selling seedlings should help to finance this project.
(3) Any de-forestation should be supervised by proper
personal of botanical Institutions of the government.
(4) No higher academic title should be be granted for any poorly--simply
descriptive--- taxinomical investigation.
For a previous
article on Coryanthes and Dr Bergold click
More photos at
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The vet patted the dog and took it out but returned a few moments later
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head, meowed and ran out of
The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry; but like I said, your
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He then turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced
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The parrot's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried.
"$150 just to tell me my bird
The vet shrugged. "If you'd taken my word for it the bill would only
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but.... what with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan..."
Ian and Pat Walters,
Burleigh Park Orchid Nursery
54 Hammond Way, Thuringowa,
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