NEWSLETTER May 2005
Sowing Orchid Seed.
Spathoglottis species affinis plicata
"Magenta" Photo Right
Dendrobium ochreatum Phalaenopsis
aphrodite Laelia lobata alba
Aerides quinquevulnerum purpureum. Vanda teres var andersoneae Renanthera
to replate. Some African and Madagascan species
Aerangis biloba Aerangis ellisii Aerangis distincta
Aeranthes grandiflora Angraecum diderii "Erika" Angraecum
leonis Comoro Angraecum magdalenae var latilabellum Angraecum
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species affinis plicata."Magenta" Large deep magenta
flowers. Terrestrial. This may have originated from New Guinea. It is a
spectacularly coloured species that grows easily in a composted soil media
in a bright sunny position.
Dendrobium ochreatum. Clusters
bright orange, large flowers on an unusual plant that has thick curved
pseudobulbs. An Indian species, requiring a small pot or a slab of
treefern or similar. A deciduous species requiring a dry rest in winter.
aphrodite. Flowers to 7 cm. This is a very robust
species and will develop into a large plant. The flowers are a clean pure
white and plants like a slotted pot or basket such as used for the
other large growing phalaenopsis.
Laelia lobata Alba. A large growing Cattleya
like plant, this needs a large basket or shallow pot for good drainage.
A robust grower, fertiliser and water when the new leads appear will produce
heads of quite spectacular flowers that have a beautiful sparkling texture.
Type form L.lobata
species linked to photographs and cultural notes.
in Plants. Top
quinquevulnerum purpureum.A rare species from the Philippines,
this form of Aerides quinquevulnerum has burgundy red flowers, with a spicy
fragrance. The densely flowered spike has many waxy flowers on a spike
to 30 cm or more, burgundy red spotted darker red. The lip is spurred,
flowers about 2 cm across. Warm to intermediate grower. Flowering size
plants are growing in coarse bark in slottted pots.
teres var andersoneae. The Indian species, terete leafed,
best grown on an old fence paling or piece of treefern is available. Almost
full sunlight, lots of water and fertiliser, the plant can be top cut and
placed back at the base of the totem to produce a clump. Warm to intermediate
grower. Flowering size plants are growing on slabs of treefern.
Renanthera isosepala. A species from Thailand
that is similar to R. coccinea. Erect arching panicles of red orange flowers,
spotted red. Best grown on a totem or similar as it will climb up a support.
If grown in a basket, it can be top cut and the cutting placed back into
the basket to form a clump. Fill the basket with large pieces of bark,
charcoal, treefern or even some coconut husk or a mix of any of those.
Maximum sunlight is required and it can be grown in the garden in warmer
Flowering size plants are growing on slabs of treefern.
species linked to photographs and cultural notes.
to Replate. Top
The African, Madagascan connection.
biloba A dwarf, shade growing species from Africa. Small glossy
green leaves, the plants do best on a mount with a little spaghnam moss
under the roots. White fragrant flowers with a long spur. A small well
drained pot or basket with a well drained media can also be used.
Aerangis ellisii. Stemmed type, flowers white to 5cm, spur
to15cm long twisted. Culture as for A. biloba. Madagascar.
Aerangis distincta. Dwarf grower, white flwers 2.5 cm with
long spur, fragrant. Heavy shade. A rare species from Africa and cultivated
Aeranthes grandiflora is a Madagascan species of moderate
elevation requiring a warm to intermediate climate, fairly shady with good
air movement. Grows well in a small basket. Large pale green flowers on
a long wiry stem.
Angraecum diderii "Erika". Dwarf plant, large waxy
white spurred flowers to 4cm. Fragrant. Does well in a very small pot or
leonis Comoro. This is a fan like plant with succulent fleshy leaves.
The flowers, to 6cm, are waxy white, with a long spur. A small pot or basket
is required, well drained. A shady spot, although it will accept similar
light conditions to that for Dendrobes, and excellent ventilation is required,
as most Anraecoids do not like stale conditions,
Angraecum magdalenae var latilabellum. Small fan like plant.
Flowers pure white, large, to 12 cm. Fragrant. Growing condition as for
A leonis. Madagascar.
Angraecum scottianum A minature terete leafed species
from Madagascar. The small plants require a mount or a very small pot or
basket with a well drained media. An intermediate grower, these like other
Angraecoids must have good air movement as they are intolerant of wet conditions.
Species highlighted are links
More photos at www.speciesorchids.com/photos.html
Sowing Orchid Seed. Top
Aseptic in flask sowing.
Ok, so you want to grow some orchids from seed. First
you will need sterile flasks with nutrient growing media in them. Knudsons
C works OK, or any of the proprietary brands.
Set the pH at about pH 5.0. You may need a pH meter
or test strips. Most proprietory brands come already pH adjusted.
Bottle say 80 mls per bottle, pressure cook for 15
minutes at 15 psi and let the flasks cool.
Now the difficult part!
Lets start with the easiest method.
Green Pod .
Collect your green seedpod, not too much off ripening,
and put it into a small sealable bottle with some straight chlorine bleach,
disinfectant, pool chlorine at 3% or more, or similar chlorine based product.
Leave it there for 20 minutes while you set
up the transfer point, a box with a sheet of plastic or glass, a large
plastic bag, or a clean air cabinet ( lamina flow) if money is no object.
The transfer point has to be wiped out with a diluted
solution of the bleach, preferably also sprayed with a fine mist atomiser
( supermarket type is great).Wash the mother flasks in the same bleach
and place them inside the now sterilised area.
Sterilise ( pressure cook) a small bottle of water
with an eyedropper in it, and a scalpel or forceps wrapped in alfoil to
provide a means of opening the seed pod and transferring the seed.
Place all in the sterilised area, with the pod.
Using the scalpel or forceps, open the seedpod and
quickly transfer a very small amount of seed to the flask. I do two or
three flasks to cover any loss, one flask is usually more than enough.
With the eye dropper, put a little sterilised water
in the flask and swirl around to spread out the seed.
Remove the flask, label, and wait to see results.
The more difficult method!
DRY SEED. Chlorine
Same transfer point procedure.
The seed has to be soaked in a sterilising solution,
use a small phial with a lid. After a determined time, the seed is allowed
to settle, the sterilising solution poured off (decanted) and some sterilised
water added to the seed and again decanted. This wash can be repeated.
Using the sterile eyedropper, add sterile water to
the seed, suck up the seed and add to the flask.
Sterilising solution is a weak chlorine bleach, say
3 to 5%. To determine the time required for sterilising, some experimenting
By setting up a number of phials with seed, a series
of timings will determine under sterilisation thru to over sterilising
and seed loss.
Start at 3 minutes, then 6, then 9, then 12, then
Germination without contamination at the minimum
timing is what is required. If the seed is sterilised but fails to germinate,
then it may be over sterilised.
However, once the time is determined between contamination
and no contamination, a finer time range can be tried.
So if there is contamination after 3 minutes, but
no contaminating after 9 minutes, a range of 4 to 9 minutes can be trialled
to establish the optimum sterilising time.
DRY SEED. Hydrogen Peroxide.
With thanks to Darryl Smedley for the following
For some years now I have been using 3 Volume W/V
Peroxide (H2O2) to sterilize orchid seed before sowing.
Its simple and
easy as its a one-step operation that doesn't require
washing of the seed as in chlorine-based sterilization
It works because the Hydrogen Peroxide kills the
then breaks down into water and oxygen after a period.
A friend has
suggested that maybe the H2O2 might only work when
it decomposes into
H2O and O2 and its the nascent oxygen that does the
sterilizing - don't
What I would like to know is how long the process
takes to convert from
H2O2 to water and oxygen?
There is a practical reason for wanting to know this
as I have found
that seed sown in the evening generally has a lower
rate than seed sown in the morning.
I have speculated that this is because the flasks
done at night are
under the the lights for only a short period and
are in contact with
the H2O2 whilst it is still 'active' for several
hours until the lights
turn on again in the morning. Flasks done in the
morning are under the
lights for up to 8 hours before the lights turn off
at night. Presumably
the H2O2 breaks down during this period. (I once
used 6 Volume H202 by
mistake and washed and re-sterilized the seeds within
15 minutes. No
good, killed them all stone dead.)
My procedures are that the seed is placed in a test
tube and 2.5ml of
H2O2 is drawn up and syringed into the tube. The
tube is agitated on
and off for 5 minutes then the stopper is removed
and the liquid and
seed poured into the flask. The flask usually has
a small quantity of
free water on top of the agar mixture - no more than
0.5 ml. The flask
is then placed under 36/37 Watt Growlights at about
18-20" from the
tube to the top of the agar. The flasking room is
kept at temperatures
ranging from 17-27 deg.C.
I'm told that the stabilizer used in H202 is Phosphoric
Acid but I
don't know in what proportion nor whether its presence
the sterilization in any way.
DRY SEED. Hydrogen Peroxide.
Same procedure as for sterilising with
chlorine, but use H2O2 diluted to say 3 volumes.
Apply the same experiment procedure.
NATURAL Seed germination.
Orchid seed germinates in the wild when the airborne
seed finds a suitable crevice which also hosts a mycorhiza fungus which
infects the seed. The fungus supplies sugar for the seed to germinate.
Bearing this in mind, seed will often germinate when
sprinkled around the roots of an established orchid, because the fungus
is present. A method to mimic this is to prepare a pot with a media that
will stay damp, but not soggy wet, and stretch a piece of terry towel over
Collect some pieces of orchid root from an established
plant and mash it up somewhat in some water and spread it over the terry
In theory, this should introduce the fungus to the
rough surface, so that the orchid seed can then be sprinkled over the terry
towel and kept damp.
Will it germinate??
In all cases, it is recommended that a very small
amount of seed is sown, so that each seedling can develop without over
crowding. In this way, a mother flask may be sufficient to grow a few seedligs
to a pottable size, otherwise too many seedlings require replating ( transfer
and thinning out in a new flask).
More photos at
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of SPECIES orchids.
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CONSERVATION BY PROPAGATION.
Getting on is when
6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
You're the one calling the police because those %&@# kids
next door won't turn down the stereo.
Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid,
the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one
"You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving
today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'
So that was nice."
A man walked into the doctors, he said, "I've hurt my arm
in several places" The doctor said, "Well don't go there any more"
The FBI had an opening for an assassin.
After all the background checks, interviews and testing were done
there were 3 finalists. Two men and a woman.
For the final test, the FBI agents took one of the men to a large
metal door and handed him a gun.
"We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter
what the circumstances. Inside the room you will find your wife sitting
a chair. Kill Her!!!"
The man said, "You can't be serious, I could never shoot my wife."
The agent said, "Then you're not the right man for this job. Take
your wife and go home."
The second man was given the same instructions. He took the
gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes. The man
came out with tears in his eyes, "I tried, but I can't kill my wife."
The agent said, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and
Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same instructions,
to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room.
Shots were heard, one after another. They heard screaming, crashing,
banging on the walls.
After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and
there stood the woman, She wiped the sweat from her brow.
"This gun is loaded with blanks" she said. "I had to beat him to
death with the chair."
MORAL: Women can be evil. Don't mess with them.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION
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a wildlife corridor in the Ecuadorian
Tropical Andes and protect it - forever!
The two parcels comprising of 840-acres of Cloud Forest in the
Ecuadorian Paso Alto Range of the Andes
in the Cambugan Watershed is home to jaguars, spectacled bears,
over 300 species of ORCHIDS, and the
highest number of amphibian and endemic bird species in the WORLD.-
Concerned people are encouraged to make
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