The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



Arizona Orchidist Newsletter January 2000

The next Board meeting will be held on Sunday, January 2, 2000, at 1:00 PM at Julie Rathbun's
home.  Her address is 4225 W. Port au Prince, Phoenix.
Phone:          602-843-0223
Time:   1 PM

As always, the meeting is open to all members.

The next regular society monthly meeting will be Thursday, January 6, 1999, at the Valley Garden Center, 1809 N. 15th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, (phone 252-2120).  The meeting, open to all plant enthusiasts, will start at 7:00 P.M.

Refreshments will be provided by:       Beverage/Joe Civello
                                                Edibles/Kathleen Luther and Willie Stimmell

Grower on call for January is Joe Civello, 623-974-9327

OSA web site is:

January Program

Our speaker for January will be Dr. Gustavo Romero from Harvard University.  Dr. Romero was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Organismal Biology in 1986 from Indiana University.  He speaks Spanish and      English with reading knowledge in French, German, Latin, and Portuguese.

Dr. Romero is currently employed as Keeper, Oakes Ames Orchid Herbarium at Harvard.  He is also the Editor of Harvard Papers in Botany.  His publications and awards are too numerous to even begin to list.  Honorary appointments include Fellow of the American Orchids Society, Inc. and Member, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard.   He collects yearly in Venezuela and also journeys to Ecuador and Brazil to collect orchids.  

Dr. Romero will be speaking on the unique habitats of orchids in Southern    Venezuela, where he is originally from. 

We are honored to have Dr. Romero as our speaker for January.

Lou Ann Remeikis

        Welcome to the New Millennium!   I hope your holidays were filled with all the things that make you happy!  I sincerely hope you and your loved ones remained safe and healthy and made wonderful memories of this special holiday season to reflect on in the future.
The December Live Auction was very successful, and I think those who attended had a lot of fun in the process.  Unfortunately, Joe Civello was under the weather and was unable to assist Joe Freasier in the auctioneering.  It was very nice for Doug Baldwin to jump in and give Joe a break from all the talking.  Talking for that length of time, even in the fun venue of the auction, can be exhausting.  Thank you both for your help in conducting the auction and making it the success it was.  I also thank everyone who either donated, solicited businesses for donations, or bid on the items.   I don't remember whom to credit for the idea of the numbers to be used by the bidders, but it seemed to be an easier process than in years past.
You are aware of how much we appreciate the individual members who donate items for our Live Auction, but I would like, at this time, to acknowledge the businesses and non-members who graciously provided items for the auction.  Please patronize these businesses if you have the chance.  Many of them donate auction items annually for the benefit of our Society and our members, and it is nice to show our appreciation for their generosity.  They are:  Baker Nursery, Phoenix; Donald Hahn, Natural History Books, Cottonwood, AZ; Raymond M. Sutton Jr.
Books, Williamsburg, KY; Rosemary McCain, Paintings & Pottery, Queen Creek, AZ; The Orchid Bench, Fort Bragg, CA; and Windy Hill Gardens, Labadie, MO.
Everyone should be congratulated on the variety of tasty food that was brought to the December meeting.  There was everything you could want, from meats and cheese to the irresistible sweets.  To everyone who brought items for the buffet table - thanks!
      On a sad note, as I mentioned at the beginning of our December meeting, Jerry Pendleton passed away.  Jerry had rejoined our Society after moving back to Arizona from California. Jerry succumbed to cancer; however, he had celebrated life by being married shortly before his death.  Jerry's family has indicated that should anyone be so inclined, donations can be made in his name to the Phoenix Children's Hospital.  
   On a more pleasant note, I wish to extend a warm welcome to OSA's newest member, Betsy Goodyear.  Betsy grows her orchids on windowsills and outside.  I know we will all make her feel welcome.  
    Unfortunate for us, we had to accept Keith Mead's resignation as Treasurer.  We will still be in contact with Keith on a regular basis; however, he is now living in Albuquerque, NM, and his home in Ahwatukee is on the market.  Keith accepted a position with Unisource, the company he was previously employed by for 25 years.  They made him an offer that was simply too good to pass up.  We certainly wish Keith, Judy and Kaitlyn the best that life has to offer! We are happy for them, yet sad because the Society has "physically" lost a truly wonderful man. Most of you have had the opportunity of getting to know Keith over the years-and you know what I say is true.  Our newer members will not have the privilege of knowing what makes Keith so special and loved by our members. Keith has always been devoted and committed to making OSA the best it can be.  Keith has WORKED very hard for the Orchid Society of Arizona.  If you want a description of an ACTIVE member, look at Keith's accomplishments on OSA's behalf.  Keith was always there to coordinate and/or assist with our projects, community service presentations, the annual orchid show, various orchid displays throughout the year, preparation and mailing of our newsletter, and the professional management of our finances.  Keith, we will never be able to thank you enough for all the contributions you have made to the Orchid Society of Arizona.  We have progressively become a better Society because of your efforts and commitment.  Personally, I want you to know just how much we appreciate everything you have done. 

        I have appointed Wilella Stimmell as the Treasurer to finish Keith's Millennium Term. As you know, Willie has the same attributes that Keith possesses and I am confident she will do an excellent job for us.  Willie is another ACTIVE WORKER for the Orchid Society of Arizona, and I appreciate her willingness to jump in with both feet to help.

        For your consideration: I received a flyer from the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs, of which we are a member.  This flyer advises of a one-day motorcoach tour to Kartchner Caverns on Monday, February 14, 2000.  The trip departs Phoenix at 9:00 AM from the Valley Garden Center, 1809 N. 15th Avenue.  There will be a lunch stop (lunch not provided in package price)
along the way between 12:00 and 12:30.  The group will be at the Caverns for approximately two to two and one-half hours, departing for home around 4:30 PM.  There will be guided tours into the Kartchner Caverns at 2:20 PM, 2:40 PM, and 3:00 PM in groups of 16.  The tour will end upon its arrival back to the Valley Garden Center between 7:30 and 8:00 PM.  Tour Cost:  $58.00 per person (this includes roundtrip motorcoach transportation and admission fees to the Caverns and
Visitor Center).  There is a deposit of $20.00 per person (refundable until January 7, 2000). Final payment is due by the same date (January 7, 2000).  The flyer notes all payments become non-refundable on January 8, 2000.  If you are interested in participation in this tour, contact Ford's World Travel, 14621 N. Del Webb Blvd., Sun City, AZ, 623-933-8256.  I am positive that this will be an interesting excursion!

        Our January meeting will, of course, be held on Thursday, January 6, 2000, at 7:00 PM at the Valley Garden Center.  Our guest speaker for the evening will be Gustavo Romero from Harvard University.  Gustavo will be speaking on the unique habitats of orchids in Southern Venezuela, where he is originally from.  We hopefully will hear a little about the Ames Orchid Herbarium and the Glass Flowers of Harvard.  I am sure he will prove to be a very interesting speaker and willing to answer any questions you might have.  Please plan on attending and help us give him a warm Arizona welcome.

        I look forward to seeing everyone at the beginning of a new month, a new year, and a new millennium!  I wish you all a safe New Year.

Happy Growing,
Lou Ann


Our calendar year ends on December 31.  If you have not sent in your renewal form and dues by January 15, your name will be removed from our mailing list, and you will not receive a February newsletter.  Enclosed for your convenience is a renewal form.

Selby Vignettes-About Cattleya percivaliana O'Brien, or "What's that Smell?" 
John T. Atwood, Director, Orchid Identification Center

        Noses differ-not only in form but in the way they perceive airborne chemicals. Some people perceive only slight fragrance of Encyclia alata while others find it heavy and oppressive, perhaps even asthma-provoking (although I am unaware that any orchid actually causes asthma attacks). Alberto M. Brenes described the odor of Maxillaria maleolens Schltr., "... odeur d‚sagr‚able," but to this nose the fragrance of coconut slightly tainted with mothballs isn't so bad. 

        And so it goes with the Christmas Orchid, Cattleya percivaliana O'Brien, a species with odor sometimes described as disagreeable. To this nose the aroma is similar to rancid salad oil or mayonnaise. To me this is not particularly offensive, but others react to it differently. Aside from the aroma, the flowers of the better clones are stunning. Colors, shapes, and sizes vary considerably, but are mostly lavender with lip marbled with a rich, dark purple and gold sometimes outlined with a light lavender border.

        Cattleya percivaliana is easily grown in Sarasota. I grow two different clones outside for most of the year where they usually produce at least two consecutive cycles of growth. Some clones are compact (to about 10 inches) displaying well in a small area. Both heat and cold tolerant, my plants withstand temperatures down to 38 degrees. 

        Currently, selected clones are displayed at Selby Gardens in the Tropical Display house. If you can, come and see these natural wonders from mid-elevation Venezuela and marvel at the variation evident in this single species once known as the Christmas Orchid! Even if you cannot, we at Selby want to wish you all the best of Holidays!

CULTURE CORNER:  Spotlight on Liparis viridiflora
by Wilella Stimmell

        At our recent November show and sale, we offered a few robust plants of Liparis viridiflora for sale.  In a search of the literature available on the culture of this plant, I made a rather interesting discovery: several highly regarded, encyclopedic-type reference books on orchids do not even list Liparis as a genus.  And the sparse cultural information I was able to find, can hardly be considered helpful for the successful cultivation of Liparis in the low desert.  However, there were some comments made by Alex Hawkes in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CULTIVATED ORCHIDS (1965) and The RHS MANUAL OF ORCHIDS (1995) that might prove helpful.
    Hawkes indicated that viridiflora is an intermediate to warm grower.  The RHS MANUAL suggested that the culture of Liparis would be "similar" to the culture of the Eria genus.  The micro-print in the "MANUAL" is best read with the assistance of a magnifying glass!  A few comments in the section devoted to Eria revealed why I nearly killed the L. viridiflora that I bought in 1996.  Aside from the fact that I hadn't repotted the plant since I bought it, I overwatered while it was still in robust condition.  I did not take into account the fact that the pseudobulbs were slender.  I watered it the same as I watered the rest of my orchids and gave it NO rest period in winter.  I now know that slender pseudobulbs require careful watering in winter.  AND I learned it BEFORE the plant completely died!  To me, this represents a vast
improvement over the past 15 years.  My first three orchids died from verwatering, and the more the plants shriveled, the more I watered them until...they were completely dead.  Although I was a novice grower, even I knew at that point that there was no use watering...sticks!

        With any luck, you learn something new every day...if you're awake and WILLING to learn!


A reprint of 'On Fleas and Mites', written by OSA member, Deacon Bell, and first printed in "The Arizona Orchidist", October, 1992, page 4.  A Y2K Epilogue follows Deacon's article and is offered by Deacon's grateful pupil, W. Stimmell.

"So, naturalists observe, a flea
 Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
 And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
 And so proceed ad infinitum."

        Jonathan Swift, British satirist, Eighteenth Century

"Great fleas have little fleas upon their back to bite 'em.
 And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
 And the great fleas themselves in turn have greater fleas to go on.
 While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on."

        Augustus De Morgan, British mathematician, Nineteenth Century

        These astute observations were made long before the vast array of pests and viruses was known, but they seem to apply also to spider mites and false spider mites on orchids.

        I have yet to see a false spider mite, yet I feel sure that some of my plants have been victims. Rebecca Northen [author of in-depth orchid culture books] says that small white spots on the leaves, the molted skins of the mites, are evidence of their presence. Of course, other things can cause small white spots on leaves. Since we know that false spider mites exist, might not a horde of other mites even smaller also exist?

        Years ago, I visited Oscar Kirsch's greenhouse in Honolulu.  I noticed that many of the dendrobium leaves on his plants had small black spots. I asked him whether or not the spots could be a virus. He said it wasn't a virus and didn't seem to hurt the plants. Now I think it might have been small bacterial infections, but how did the bacteria penetrate the skin of the plant? Could a micro-mite with a juice sucking drill have let the bacteria in? I have had a few similar black spots on dendrobium leaves and have found that the New Zealand mite spray seems to stop its spread. In any case, it is easy to use and harmless to people, so I will repeat the formula:

2 tablespoons cold water (liquid) Surf detergent
1 tablespoon methyl alcohol (shellac thinner)
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Mix thoroughly in one gallon of water.  If a precipitate forms, strain the solution through fine cheese cloth before putting it into a spray bottle. Apply at ten day intervals or as needed.

(At the time Deacon wrote the above article, he had 50 years growing experience, had lived and grown orchids in Dallas, Hawaii, New Orleans, and Phoenix, and was 88 years young.  Before Deacon moved to Santa Fe in 1996, he donated most of his orchid collection to OSA. In Santa Fe, he grew his orchids in the indoor greenhouse he designed and built.  OSA has the plans for the indoor greenhouse design, and we have them available at all our displays.  We also have a prototype greenhouse on display at our various displays and our November show.  Bob MacLeod built the greenhouse according to the specifications outlined in Deacon's design. In 1999, Deacon made the difficult decision to stop growing orchids, and he donated his remaining orchids to OSA. These plants were placed on our August raffle table.  In a recent telephone conversation, Deacon confessed that he REALLY misses orchids, but that he felt he made the correct decision and was happy to think that his plants found good homes among OSA members.)

Epilogue:  Much has been written recently in various publications about the latest "safe", natural product for controlling such pests as scale, mealybugs, and even slugs - Neem Oil.  I will probably try this product on a few orchids and then make my own judgment regarding its efficacy AND whether my test plants suffer any side effects... such as DEATH, which in my opinion, would definitely be a negative because I can kill my orchids WITHOUT any help! I offer two pointers to keep in mind when using ANY "safe" spray:

1)      "Safe" sprays of ANY variety, even Deacon's formula, CAN HARM PLANTS IF APPLIED MORE FREQUENTLY THAN ONCE EVERY 10 DAYS.  This is particularly true in a greenhouse situation where the humidity varies from high to...higher!  Residue from the first spraying will still be present in the stomata when the spray is    applied for a second time.

2)      A "safe" spray should NOT be combined with an even "safer" treatment.  I sprayed a plant with "safe" spray and then a few days later noted that a few mealy bugs were still present (probably teenagers that I missed with the first spray).  I decided to gently wash the leaves with an old-time remedy, sudsy Fels Naptha water.  The end result was that the plant dropped all its leaves! But...on the bright side, with no leaves, although the plant looked stupid, there were no places for the mealybugs to hide! Sometime later, I read in Rebecca Northen's book, HOME ORCHID GROWING (page 315 of the Fourth Edition), her words of warning that anything more than a few drops of a mild detergent in an emergency situation could cause injury to the plant.  Lesson learned (the hard way, of course).


        In an e-mail John sent after he and Bob Dressler returned from Panama, John stated that he "got about 38 DNA samples from Western Panama that should help fill as many gaps in our cladograms.  Chiriqui is one of the strongholds of the old segregate, Camaridium, which is not so common in South America. Relationships of the species within this segregate have been guesses at best. Bob got a number of new species of Sobralia...  We returned to a spot at Fortuna, Panama which I first visited 22 years ago when the road was just being bulldozed for access for a planned hydro-electric dam.  The trees hosted lots of Phragmipedium humboldtii (the Central American P. caudatum), and the riverside was the favored haunts of P. longifolium.  I had expected the P. longifolium to be missing with the rising levels of the dam but found it to have invaded the roadsides in mass!  Also the P. humboldtii was seen scattered along the embankments, some in fruit attesting to a healthy ecosystem, despite man's interference, or perhaps because of man's interference.  That the P. humboldtii will grow in the ground as well as in the trees suggests
to me that the climate is probably key to successful growing, and not the choice of substrate."

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

        The first hands-on program on our schedule for the new year will be presented on JANUARY 13 for 20 Kindergarten children who attend PHOENIX CHRISTIAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. The school is located at 2425 N. 26th St., Phoenix. The time of our presentation is 10:30 a.m. The  children's teacher, Paige Meyer, reports that her students are very excited about working with orchids and seeing blooming plants! At their teacher's request, the children have been bringing empty milk jugs to school. Paige reported that her students are VERY curious about what they will do with the jugs during the program.
On JANUARY 24, we will present two programs for 4th grade students who attend MOST HOLY TRINITY SCHOOL, 535 E. Alice Ave., Phoenix. The first program will begin at 1 p.m., and the second will begin at 1:45 p.m. Each class is comprised of 22 students.

        Although we enlist the assistance of teachers during the hands-on portion of our programs, WE NEED AT LEAST 4 OSA MEMBERS to help with these programs because we strive to give the children a one-on-one experience. We also NEED BLOOMING PLANTS for a display table!

        For our February community service programs, we leave the classroom and work with adult audiences. On FEBRUARY 1, from 7 - 9 p.m., we will do a repotting demonstration for the City of Tempe, Outdoor Recreation Division, Gardening Section. Plant lovers who participate in this group, meet at the Pyle Center, 655 E. Southern, Tempe. We will need blooming plants for a display table because...   blooming plants are ALWAYS an integral part of our presentations!
And if one or more OSA members have plants that need repotting, this is an opportune time to get the job done AND do community service at the same time!

On FEBRUARY 10, we will present a program for the members of WEEDERS GARDEN CLUB. This AFGC federated club meets at 9 a.m. - usually in the Recreation Hall of Boston Square Apartments, Chandler. But for THIS meeting, the members of Weeders will gather at the home of one of their members who lives in Sun Lakes. Our program will consist of a brief discussion about our blooming display plants and a question and answer period. (AFGC members are eager to learn about orchids! The "weeder" who requested this program, booked us on June 1, 1999, BEFORE a Y2K calendar was available! Also, in November, 1999, another AFGC club's Program Chairman requested that we do a program for her garden club in August, 2000.)

        Remember that if you know of schools, classes, or other groups that would appreciate being introduced to the wonderful world of orchids, we operate strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. Whether the group is a class in a private or public school, makes no difference to us. Children are students,         regardless of where they attend school. Our community service programs, like our society, function on a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. NO group is given priority at the expense of another. The sooner a group requests a program date, the more likely it is that we can accommodate them. Unfortunately, if a group's contact person makes an
initial inquiry and then does not quickly follow-up on a request, that group is likely to lose its "place in line".


        Ed Gamarano is settled in his new home and hopes to rejoin our OSA family soon. Because of failing eyesight, Leith Plunkett has had to give up driving AND his faithful truck. (The truck is now living with his daughter in Oregon.)  But never fear:  Leith is NOT grounded. He has a new form of transportation that exercises previously unused muscles, is bright red, has 3 wheels, and...a basket for hauling things!  Drivers in the Scottsdale area might spot Leith riding in the bike lane!

Several of our members have changed their e-mail addresses.  To obtain the latest information, contact Lou Ann at

January Birthdays

4th     Lucy Redmond
19th    Frank Bopp
23rd    Ann Shaffer
24th    Kaitlyn Mead
25th    Nelda Caldwell and Natalie Warford
28th    Kristin Huisinga
29th    Niki Hamilton

Happy Birthday Everyone!

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