The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



Meetings are held at the Valley Garden Center 1809 N. 15th Ave,  Phoenix, Arizona.  Phone (602) 252-2120. The next regular society meeting will be Thursday February  1st , 2001 at  7:00 PM.

February Program
Deflasking Vanda sanderiana seedlings.

If we have more members and guests than vanda seedlings, we will simply draw numbers from a hat to determine who will be able to take one home a vanda.  Other members and guests will get their choice of seedlings form the Orchid Seedbank Project.  What you will need to bring from home, if you chose to participate, will be a reasonably tall plastic container.  OSA will provide all the other items needed for the project.  This will be a fun program and the seedlings look VERY healthy!


From the President's Desk
Lou Ann Remeikis

Has everyone seen all the articles being published (including gorgeous photos) on orchids lately?  I have seen articles in Garden Gate, Horticulture, Garden Design, and Victoria in the last few issues that are inspiring, to say the least.  I know…I subscribe to too many magazines and am a member of too many societies/organizations.  However, I do receive some interesting publications due to my memberships!  It is always exhilarating to see orchid growing coming to the forefront more often in publications.  These publications describe how some of these gorgeous plants/blooms are very happy growing in an ordinary home, letting the world in on our little secret!  They can be houseplants!

It was so nice to see such a wonderful turnout at January’s meeting!  I sincerely thank Del Pace for being our first speaker of the year, and I know we had a large number of members attend January’s meeting because of her.  Those members who had never met or heard Del speak really enjoyed her.  I know this because I was told this by several members who have joined our “family” since her last presentation to us several years ago.  Del’s topics and no-nonsense answers to questions are always interesting and beneficial to any orchid grower at any level of expertise!
Appreciative can only begin to describe how I feel about Jane and Pete Heckel!  Jane and Pete opened their home to Del Pace, our January speaker. Del arrived in Phoenix on Wednesday evening and flew home on Monday.  During that time, Jane and Pete were gracious hosts and provided transportation for Del during her stay.  Their thoughtfulness in providing this “service” to OSA saved the society a great deal of money that otherwise would have been a routine expense for our speaker budget.  I know Jane and Pete enjoyed having Del stay with them, and I’m sure Del felt more comfortable in their home than in a hotel!  A big thank you to you two!
Wasn’t it GREAT to see Keith Mead?  He surprised all of us!  I know Keith, Judy and Kaitlyn were in Arizona for the holidays and I’m sure had other commitments, but I know a great number of us would have liked to have spent more time with him!  Yes, consider me greedy!  Next time, Keith, let us know and we can atleast take you to lunch or dinner.  I was so busy at the meeting I just didn’t have enough time to visit with you!  Drop in on us ANYTIME!  For those of you new to OSA, Keith Mead was our treasurer before his job took him to the Albuquerque, NM, area.  Keith still maintains his membership with OSA and remains dear to our hearts!  

I must apologize to our members who provided refreshments at the January meeting.  I erroneously published that the refreshments would be provided by myself and my mother, Sarah Heberling.  In actuality, refreshments were provided by Janet Jurn, Kathleen Luther and Ann Cherny.  My thanks go to Janet for keeping me going in the right direction, it just happened after the newsletter went to print!

Speaking of Janet, I wish to thank her for being our Refreshment Coordinator for the last six - yes six - years!  I have spoken to Janet about continuing through 2001 as Refreshment Coordinator and she has agreed UNLESS someone else would like to take over and give her a break.  OSA is not looking to replace Janet as she has always done a great job, but I do understand her dilemma.  Janet drives a great distance for each meeting to set-up the punch bowl and arrange the plates and cups, etc.  Janet is greatly missed if she cannot make the meeting for one reason or another, and a back-up or someone willing to assume the responsibility would be appreciated.  If YOU are one that would be willing to help out, please contact me at (602) 803-6889.  I’m sure you could also call Janet to inquire as to what her job entails.

We are ready to embark on a busy time for OSA.  The OSA agenda is getting full, and that means OSA will be needing assistance from YOU.  Please review the following schedule and take a moment to check your calendar to see if you can assist.

February 1, 2001, 7:00 pm, OSA regular meeting; February 2, 3, and 4th, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Chinese Festival; February 10th  and 11th, 2001, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Language of Flowers at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

I will be sending a worker’s sign-up sheet around at the next regular meeting for the Chinese Festival.  There are three days we will be there, selling orchids, and we will be setting up four hour shifts (AM/PM) for each day.  The Chinese Festival starts the day after the next meeting, so please check your calendar in advance and sign-up if you can.  These events benefit YOU as a member because it benefits YOUR society!  These events help defer some of the Society’s expenses incurred by our speakers, our silent auctions, our field trip, and our Community Service Programs.  

To clarify what you will need to bring to the February meeting - you will need a clear container that is a minimum of 6” tall.  Ideally a clear (and clean) two liter soda bottle would work perfectly.  We will have an in-house program potting vandaceous seedlings.  Julie Rathbun has mothered the flask of Vanda sanderiana seedlings purchased by OSA which will be used during the program.  There are a limited number of seedlings, as I mentioned during January’s meeting.  When I announced this, Aaron Hicks graciously offered to bring in some additional seedlings so everyone would have an opportunity to have a seedling to pot up.  OSA will be providing the potting media, and any pots that should be needed, but please bring your clean and clear soda bottle to the meeting!  You can even bring an extra for members who may forget!  This should be a lot of fun, and you’ll get to take something home with you that needs some TLC.

The Orchid Society of Arizona is involved with the Arizona State Veteran’s Home, to name one of many worthwhile causes we support.  Any member who have items to donate to the Arizona State Veteran’s Home Gift Shop should bring their items to ANY meeting and give the items to one of your Board members.  The residents at the Veteran’s Home does not have traditional money to spend, they are issued “scripts” with a certain value on them.  The donated items do not need to be expensive articles, just items you may normally see in a gift shop.  They are really in need of individual bags of chips, candy, sodas, small trinkets, note paper or stationery articles.  The administration of the Veteran’s Home has requested that no lighters or matches - anything that could be potentially dangerous - be avoided.  Wilella Stimmell has offered to take any donations from OSA members to the Veteran’s Home once a month or once every other month as donations are made available.  Please think of our vets on days other than Veteran’s Day!  They deserve the best and so often are forgotten!

I look forward to seeing everyone on February 1st.  Until then…
Happy Growing - 
Lou Ann

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

The first hands-on programs on our schedule for the new year will be presented on Wednesday, FEBRUARY 14, for 94 students who attend JEFFERSON SCHOOL. The address of the school is 120 S. Jefferson, Mesa. The first program is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m., the second at 11:00 a.m., and the third at 12:45 p.m. There will be 31 students in each of two programs, and 32 in the third program. We need as many OSA Program Team Members to assist with the programs as possible so that the children have a one-on-one experience in repotting their seedlings! We also need blooming display plants! 

Shari Bewsey, the 5th grade teacher who contacted us and requested our programs, reported that there are 4 more 5th grade classes than we can accommodate in our programs. However, if the students who do not participate in our programs, express a desire to work with orchid seedlings, we will be happy to put Shari in contact with the growers from whom we buy seedlings for our school programs. There will be teachers, teacher aides, and parents assisting with the programs on the 14th, and they will be able to see how we proceed, so that they could offer similar programs at a later date. (We do explain to all teachers who contact us that we have a $300.00 cap on  the amount we can spend for seedlings and supplies for ONE school.)

Lunch will be provided for all OSA Program Team Members assisting with the programs at Jefferson School! If you plan to lend a hand on the 14th, phone or e-mail me by Feb. 5 so that I can let Shari know how many of us there will be for lunch.

On June 8, 2000, the EPA announced on its website that the agency intended to stop the production of Dursban(chlorpyrifos), one of the most widely used organophosphate* insecticides in the U.S., by  December, 2000. (This notice appeared in the July issue of our newsletter, on page 5.)   Dursban 50 wettable powder was registered for use on orchids and is listed in ORCHID PESTS AND DISEASES, published by the American Orchid Society, 1995 Revised Edition, page 36, along with two other organophosphates recently targeted by the EPA for removal:

Orchid growers have used Malathion 50% EC (Emulsifiable Concentrate) for control of aphids, mealybugs and scale and Diazinon granules for control of ants.    
The open comment period on the tolerance reassessment of Malathion ends on February 12, 2001. Phase-out of diazinon, one of the most widely used pesticides in this country, will begin in March, 2001. 

In the EPA's Diazinon Risk Assessment and Agreement with Registrants, revised January, 2001, page 1, EPA states that it "has  accepted a voluntary agreement from the manufacturers of diazinon to modify the uses of this pesticide to address the tough new safety standard" of the Food and Quality Protection Act of 1996. All indoor  uses of diazinon will terminated, as well as residential lawn and  garden uses of diazinon being phased out over the next few years.
The agreement will terminate sales for all indoor uses of diazinon by the end of 2002. 
"The agreement also virtually ends sales of the residential lawn care use of diazinon in 2003, and provides for orderly transition to a new product line. The home lawn care use accounts for most residential exposure but less risk than the indoor use of diazinon. Under the agreement, production of diazinon for home lawn care and  all other outdoor non-agricultural uses must phase down at least 50% by 2003. Production, formulation, and sales to retailers are scheduled to phase out and end completely during 2003. Registrants will buy back any products from retailers that remain at the end of 2004. However, few retail products for home lawn care uses are expected to remain in the market by that time."  Organophosphates can affect the nervous system. "Broadcast application of diazinon to turf poses one of the greatest pesticide risks to birds. Just one granule or seed treated with diazinon is enough to kill a small bird." EPA Diazinon Revised Risk, Jan. 2001, page 1. (

The notebook containing month-by-month expenses and income for the year 2000 will be available for viewing at our Feb. 1 meeting. The report for the month of December reflects year-to-date totals.

Our dedicated volunteers who actively participated in our sales' events might like to know that as a result of their hard work, we generated $6,775.60. (This does not include donations we received nor dues paid. This is income generated SOLELY from our worker bees!) Where did OSA spend that sweat-equity income? We returned to the community through our school programs, donations, scholarships, and support for other non-profit organizations:  $5560.22!! A far more impressive way to view the dollar amount is: WE RETURNED 82% OF OUR EARNINGS TO THE COMMUNITY! I know of NO other non-profit organization that returns so much money to the community. NONE of our volunteers received any perks to encourage them to work as hard as they did.    Their work was a labor of love.

It must also be recognized that we are able to keep our overhead costs under control due to the generosity of members donating items for which OSA would otherwise reimburse them. Items we use on a regular basis, such as: paper for our monthly newsletters, mailing labels, 700 November 2000 show flyers, the color front page of our membership roster and the roster covers, hundreds of copies of culture sheets which we make available to the public at all our displays, contents of New Member Packets, and travel expenses incurred when members made road trips to pick up sale plants for OSA were NOT paid for from our Treasury. 

For benefit of our newer members, you might want to know that NO expenditure is ever reimbursed without prior authorization from OSA's Board of Directors.

Kudos to JULIE RATHBUN, NORMA KAFER, JANE HECKEL, AND LOU REMEIKIS, OSA plant sitters, for their outstanding efforts. During 2000, OSA purchased 817 plants for sale. Of that number, at year-end, we had sold 777, had also donated plants for Master Gardener Recognition Night and to the AFGC West Central District Spring and Fall Meetings, and had 40 plants remaining in inventory for stocking our monthly raffle tables in 2001. Of the total expended for plant purchases: $9827.67, the COMBINED TOTAL CASUALTY LOSS of plants in the care of our conscientious sitters was LESS THAN 1%!!                                   
  Wilella Stimmell, OSA Treasurer

Bleach makers are phasing out one gallon (128 ounces) jugs of bleach, labeled as containing 5% sodium hypochlorite, and replacing them with 96 ounce jugs of a bleach manufacturers call "ultra". The smaller jugs do not list the percentage of sodium hypochlorite, but the label does state that instead of 1 cup of "regular" bleach, the user should use 3/4 cup of "ultra". Since orchid growers use bleach, we need to know what percentage of sodium hypochlorite is in "ultra".
In an e-mail message received on December 19, 2000, from Maura Hannigan, Product Specialist for the Clorox Company, she states: "The new Ultra Regular Clorox bleach contains a 6.00% sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient. Being that the new formula is concentrated, we recommend (using) 3/4 cup bleach (instead of 1 cup of the 'old' formula.)"
                                                W. Stimmell

by W. Stimmell
I received a panic phone call from a grower who had purchased a Ludisia (syn. Haemaria) discolor plant from us at our November show. She had been patiently waiting since November for the flowers to open. Apparently her West Highland Terrier had also been waiting for the flowers to open, and when they did, he pounced on his owner's plant. The distraught pet owner wanted to know if the orchid was poisonous. Resisting the urge to reply, "is your dog still breathing?", I told her that to the best of my knowledge, there had been no reports in the literature of any pet death instances after ingesting Haemaria discolor flowers or from chewing on other of the plant parts. The greatly relieved pet owner now believes that she over-reacted to the incident and has created a pet that fears the sound of her voice! However, pet behavior is not our specialty.

This is not the first time we have received reports and inquiries about pets ingesting orchids. In orchid reference works, there have been reported cases of contact dermatitis on the hands and face when humans come in contact with Cypripedium reginae and Cyp. Calceolus var. pubescens. It seemed that the time had come to have more information available to report to anxious pet owners.

 In Chapter 15, "Commercial and Ethnobotanical Uses of Orchids",  FUNDAMENTALS OF ORCHID BIOLOGY, by Joseph Arditti, published by John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1992, with reference to poisons, Dr. Arditti writes on page 641: "A number of orchids are reported to be poisonous to humans and  animals. Sap of Catasetum and Cyrtopodium was used to cement curare to arrow tips by Demerara Indians. This led to the incorrect assumption that the orchids themselves were poisonous. In the Bahamas, dry and powdered Bletia verecunda bulbs were used as fish poison. Several orchids were reputed to be poisonous to  livestock, including Thecostele poilanei, Calanthe discolor (in the Satsunan Islands), Cypripedium spectabile and Cypripedium pubescens (North America), Dipodium punctatum and Pterostylis sp. (New South Wales), Eulophia vierns (Goa), Lissochilus buchanani (South Africa), Microtis parviflora (Queensland), and Orchis latifolia and Orchis laxiflora (Afghanistan). Other orchids reputed to be poisonous are Disa chrysostachya (South Africa) and Eulophia sp. (Central African Republic). Several Cypripedium species can cause dermatitis.  Vanilla causes vanillism.

   Orchids were also employed as insecticides and poisons. Bletilla hyacinthina was utilized as an insecticide in China. In Vietnam, a mixture of whole rice plants, the orchid Thecostele poilanei, and arsenic is used to poison rats. This use has led to a vernacular name for the orchid that means 'rat poison'."

The AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION HANDBOOK OF POISONOUS AND INJURIOUS PLANTS lists no poisonous orchids. Cornell University is in the process of establishing an internet database of poisonous plants. Internet users might want to bookmark the Cornell database and periodically check to see if any orchids have been added to the list.  
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Plant and Dairy Foods and Beverages, has a Poisonous Plant Database on the internet. Our tax dollars at work? In the FDA Poisonous Plant Database, 15 orchids are listed as plants that have been reported to exhibit toxicity:
Cymbidium aloifolium                                           
Cypripedium pubescens                                       
Cypripedium species (Cyp. Reginae?)                 
Cypripedium  spectabile                                       
 Dendrobium nobile                                                                  
Eria stellata                                                                    
Habenaria nigra                                                                  
Neottia nidus-avis                                                                
Orchis  coriophora                                                               
Orchid odoratissima                                                             
Orchis purpurea                                                                   
Orchis simia                                                                           
Phajus callosus                                                          
Phalaenopsis amabilis                                               
Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana

The URL for the FDA Poisonous Plant Database is:
The easiest way to access the entire list, rather than clicking on the reference listing alphabetically by author, is to click on the link: Vascular Plant List. The initial poisonous plant list was compiled in 1994 by D. Jesse Wagstaff and was last updated May 14, 1999 by Lee J. Miller. The following disclaimer appears on the "read me" page: "The files in this database are intended only for scientific information exchange. They have not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for publication nor do they have any official status. They are continually being enlarged and modified; they are neither error-free nor comprehensive.  Information herein is in the public domain."

A copy of all 74 pages in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database will be available henceforth at all our school programs, monthly meetings, displays, and our November show. Taking our cue from the FDA... OSA has not approved the Poisonous Plant List, but for educational purposes, we choose to make it available to curious minds.

(For further reading, see ORCHID BIOLOGY: REVIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES, III, Edited by Joseph Arditti, published by Cornell University Press, 1984. Chapters 2 and 6 contain information relevant to  poisonous orchids.)

Sure to Bring a Smile to Your Face:                                

Nic van den Bosch is an Aussie orchid grower who lives in Tasmania. His goal in life seems to be to convince us unenlightened folk that FRESH horse manure, with a top dressing of spha gnum moss, is the "perfect" orchid growing medium. He includes a photo of a cymbidium with bloom spikes too numerous to count, to "prove" that his medium produces excellent results. We might be missing something if Nic's claim, that plants grown in horse manure "become more resistant to pests and  diseases", is true. After you visit Nic's website, you might want to send him an e-mail and ask him how far away he lives from his nearest neighbor!  

ON OUR FEBRUARY 1 RAFFLE TABLE: We have received two free admission tickets for the SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW, which will be held March 23-25, at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara, CA. These tickets and a show poster suitable for framing will be placed on our February raffle table. Placing the tickets on our February raffle table will allow the lucky winner ample time to plan an excursion to Santa Barbara. OSA thanks the Santa Barbara International Show Committee for donating the free tickets and poster to us.

Virtual Goodies
This month’s website comes to us from  the OSA
The Address:

For growers with internet access and a desire to find out about the 17th World Orchid  Conference which will be held in Malaysia April 24th - May 2nd in 2002, check out .

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