The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



OSA is pleased to welcome as our speaker, Chris Gubler, Gubler Orchids, of Landers, California. The subject of Chris’s presentation is: the transition of orchids in the marketplace, and the changes reflected in Gubler Orchids.  Chris majored in Ornamental Horticulture with minors in Botany and Marketing and graduated from California Polytechnic, Pomona.  There are very few orchid nurseries in the US that are owned and successfully operated by third generation orchid growers. Gubler Orchids is one of those few nurseries.   Plants on the March raffle table will be donated by Gubler Orchids.  (In October, 2000, when OSA School Program Team Members traveled to Landers to present our orchid programs for the children in the area, Chris donated three large cartons of fine fir bark which we have been using in our school programs in Arizona. He has also been very generous in pricing seedlings which we purchase for use in our school programs and sale plants for our November show.)  We are especially pleased that Chris agreed to speak to us because his busy schedule does not allow time for presentations to orchid societies. He agreed to speak to us because, he said, “you’re special”. 

Believe it or not, we are already planning for our next wonderful Orchid Show.  The 2001 show theme is Orchids in Toyland.  The idea is to collect new toys that will first be used as show props and then be donated to Toys for Tots for children who may not otherwise have a happy Holiday.
I think this a wonderful and worthy plan.  With your help, we can start gathering toys now because I’m sure it will take some time to accumulate enough for an impressive show and a generous donation.

I’ll be giving you more information in the months to come.                      

Thank you all for your help and generosity.
Rhonda Woodward

From the President’s Desk
Lou Ann Remeikis
I am so psyched to have Chris Gubler speak to us at our March meeting!  For those of you who have never met him, you are in for a real treat.  For those of us who already know and love him, we are thrilled to have him make a presentation to our group.  Bless his heart, Chris will be coming to Phoenix in a whirlwind a couple of hours before our meeting and will be off at the crack of dawn the next day as he is due in Hawaii the next day!  I really appreciate his commitment to keeping his speaking engagement with OSA members in light of the fact he has other demands on his time!  I hope everyone can attend the March meeting to show their appreciation for his efforts!  I’m sure you will be rewarded by attending!

There were a number of activities that OSA participated in during the month of February.  We first participated in the Phoenix Chinese Week 2001 Festival celebrating the Year of the Snake.  Although I was unable to assist any of the three days the festival was held (due to my clumsiness and breaking my foot), I appreciate so many people pitching in to make our participation a success.  The following is a list of the members who showed up and worked at the festival.  I send you a sincere thank-you!  Bob MacLeod, Julie Rathbun, Kelly Thomas, Wilella Stimmell, Pam Albright, Jennifer Busch, Shirley Engberg, Connie Hall, Jennifer Hall, Jane Heckel, Norma Kafer, Gary Kooistra, Ainsley and Bryan LaCour, Kathleen Luther, Glena Petro and Rhonda Woodward. 

I apologize if anyone was overlooked and not recognized for their assistance at the festival.  I cannot stress enough that the success of OSA depends on members such as the ones listed in this newsletter.  It is YOU that keeps OSA strong!

Another event OSA was a part of was the Boyce Thompson Arboretum’s Language of Flowers, held on February 10th and 11th.  Kelly Thomas, Karen Berger and I manned the OSA booth on Saturday and Wilella Stimmell and Julie Rathbun took over for us on Sunday.  We had a lot of fun talking to different people from all over the world.  Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a unique place that is sought out by people who spend their winters living here or vacationing from some pretty fascinating places.  I also enjoyed the cool (not cold) weather yet seeing snow covering the mountain at the Arboretum.  All in all, a very pleasant day!

How do I thank Aaron Hicks for pitching in and presenting the February in-house program on the Vanda sanderiana seedlings?  Aaron did not know he was making the presentation until that night!  Not only did he conduct the in-house program, he brought additional seedlings from his collection just in case we ran out of the sanderiana seedlings.  Aaron, you are such a good sport!  Thank you.
Did everyone have an opportunity to bid on those beautiful nobile dendrobiums?  We were very fortunate to have found any, and of course we share the wealth!  If we could have obtained more, I’m sure they would have found good homes to go to! 
OSA’s Librarian, Glena Petro, will soon complete an inventory of our Library.  We will make this reference list available to the members so you can see what is available for check-out.  Any “member” is allowed to check out these reference materials to read and study.   This resource is maintained for YOUR benefit, so take advantage of it!

As mentioned at the February meeting, Norma Kafer is to be recognized and thanked for her efforts in getting the February newsletter out to our members.  Wilella Stimmell usually leads a team of volunteers to copy, fold, tape, address and stamp the newsletters before delivering them in mass to the Post Office.  Willie was in Sarasota during the time this task needed to be completed and Norma jumped in and did the whole thing without any help.  Thanks again, Norma!
FYI - The OSA Board of Directors are starting the preliminary work on our annual field trip.  It was the consensus of members at a recent regular meeting that Santa Barbara’s Orchid Show is the field trip of choice.  We have learned the Santa Barbara Orchid Show is scheduled for July 21st and 22nd.   We traditionally attend the show on Saturday, so we will be working towards that end and will provide further details in the near future.  So, mark your calendars for July 21st if you plan on going.

Before I close my message to you, I wish to also thank Julie Rathbun and Wilella Stimmell for taking the time, and at their own expense, to travel to California recently to obtain orchids for the Society - to include seedlings which will be used during the Community Service Programs coming up.  They really go above and beyond for the good of the Society, and we all appreciate it!   I should go ahead and thank some of our members, in advance, as there are several who are traveling to California to attend the San Francisco Orchid Expo.  The Orchid Expo takes place February 24th - 26th.  Members who attend the March meeting will have an opportunity to take home orchids brought back from this orchid show as the attending members are bringing back plants for another silent auction.  ANOTHER reason to attend March’s meeting, huh?
I think the March meeting will have something for everyone.  I look forward to seeing you on March 1st!  Until then…
Happy Growing,
Lou Ann


Mark your calendar and plan to attend the AFGC Fund-raiser on MARCH 17 at the PHOENIX ELKS LODGE, 14424 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. and continue until 2:00 p.m. The theme of the fund-raiser is: Arizona - From Desert to Oasis. Each of the affiliated clubs is supporting the fund-raiser by donating items which will be sold at set prices, placed in a silent auction, or sold via a live auction. (OSA’s Board of Directors voted to donate 6 blooming plants to the fund-raiser.)Donations of items from individuals will be happily accepted by fund-raiser committee members. Phone Linda Chumney (480-496-4563) to arrange for pick-up of items.   Ticket price is $25.00 and includes lunch, speaker, and camaraderie. Make check payable to: AFGC and mail to: Dot Valenti, AFGC Fund-raiser Registration Chair, 511 Leisure World, Mesa, AZ, 85206-3123.   Gene Perret, humorist for ARIZONA HIGHWAYS magazine, will be the featured speaker and will autograph copies of his books. Master Gardener, Chuck Reading, will be the auctioneer. 

FACTOID: “China produces and discards more than 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year, cutting down as many as 25 million trees in the process, according to government statistics. ... At the current rate of timber use, environmentalists warn, China will consume its remaining forests in about a decade.” ARIZONA REPUBLIC, February 11, 2001, page A30.

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

On February 14, JANE HECKEL, NORMA KAFER, JAY MUNN, JULIE RATHBUN, KELLY THOMAS, and I presented three Orchid 101 programs for 94 2nd and 5th grade students at Jefferson School, 120 S. Jefferson Ave., in Mesa. In addition to OSA program team members, our helpers included three teachers, two teacher’s aides, and a non-orchid grower whose name is familiar to OSA members because she paints orchids on textiles, pottery, wood, and she has donated several of her masterpieces for our annual December fund-raising auctions. (Rosemary McCain loves to paint, and she has said, “I can paint on anything.”)   Program team members brought an assortment of blooming plants for our display table, and after each program ended, the students closely inspected the flowers and asked many questions. On one plant, Restrepiella ophiocephala (common name: Snake’s Head Orchid), the children had an opportunity to see a developing seed  pod, a keiki, and flowers. The plant was an excellent visual aid, as were: a Phalaenopsis hybrid with crown rot which reinforced our advice to the new plant owners that they not leave water standing in the crown of plants; a deciduous Calanthe Cornelius Vanderbilt in flower; a vandaceous orchid growing in a basket with no medium; a plant growing in a tree fern fiber “pot”; and a plant that needed to be repotted and groomed.   The Jefferson students had no reservations about getting their hands dirty with fir bark, but two students weren’t particularly happy to find a juvenile sow bug and a tiny earthworm in the bark mix of the original seedling pots. The sow bug was squashed; the fate of the earthworm is unknown.  Sheri Bewsey, the teacher who scheduled our programs, provided lunch in the school cafeteria for our team members. It had been many years since any of us had eaten in a school cafeteria, and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of foods offered.  When we introduce school children to orchids, and they are made aware that the native habitat of the magnificent plants on display is the rapidly disappearing rainforests, we move one step closer to meaningful conservation.  A special word of thanks to new OSA School Program Team Member, Jay Munn, for volunteering to help with our programs. Since Jay had not observed one of our presentations, he had no prior knowledge of what was in store for him when he appeared at Jefferson School. We put him to work, and he’s coming back for more of the same! He plans to help with the next round of programs which will be presented for Paramount Academy.   There has been a DATE CHANGE for the three programs we will presentfor 78 Kindergarten students at PARAMOUNT ACADEMY, 11039 W. Olive, Peoria. The NEW date is Monday, MARCH 5. Time of day for each presentation (9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 a.m.) remains unchanged.  On MARCH 20, we will present a program for 26 Kindergarten students who attend SPIRIT OF HOPE MONTESSORI SCHOOL, 14403 N. 75TH Ave., Peoria. Our presentation will begin at 9:30 a.m.  We welcome wider participation from OSA members in our school  programs! If your day job prevents you from assisting or observing during our presentations, feel free to furnish our team with: lava rocks (used in the bottom of the milk jug “greenhouses” - available at sand/gravel businesses where you bring a shovel and buckets); large, clear plastic bags (placed over the milk jugs) - two gallon size; small/fine fir bark; or 10 ½" x 13 1/3" sheets of 7-mesh plastic canvas - available at craft shops for 25 cents a sheet (each sheet is cut into 6 pieces, and each piece becomes a platform for a seedling pot in the milk jug greenhouses). We are always in need of these items, and OSA members have generously donated them.   Be on the alert for recycled clear, square, 2 ½" band pots. We are using 3 ½" inch clear pots for our school programs, but they must be cut down so they will fit on the platforms inside the milk jug greenhouses. The smaller, clear band pots would not need to be  reduced in height. A spokesperson for Anderson Die & Manufacturing Co., Portland, Oregon, stated that the company had made the band pots “a hundred years ago” (surely an exaggeration!) as a special order for a commercial, California orchid grower. Any of the pots still in circulation, probably were saved after the orchid seedlings potted in them, outgrew the pots. The spokesperson for Anderson also stated that the company could be persuaded to again manufacture clear band pots if there was a large enough demand for them. (A band pot has a cross on the bottom of the pot. Water drainage is achieved through a space in the shape of a triangle at each corner.)

A LAYMAN’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE FIRST ANNUAL DISCOVERY SEMINAR SERIES: FOUNDING SCIENTISTS OF SELBY GARDENS                                                                                         by Wilella Stimmell 
On January 25, 2001, it was my pleasure to be seated in a room with internationally renowned plant biologists. In a lecture forum, ten scholars shared their views on tropical plant discovery.  The first presentation, Documenting Orchid Diversity, was made by Calaway Dodson, First Executive Director of Selby Gardens and founder of the Orchid Identification Center, and currently Senior Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden.   Dr. Kiat Tan, who served as Assistant Director to Cal Dodson, was the first director of the Orchid Identification Center. Dr. Tan, current Director of the Singapore Botanical Gardens, spoke of his experiences at Selby and presented slides highlighting his work at both Selby and Singapore.  Dr. Carlyle Luer, Marie Selby’s surgeon, served on the board that established the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and after a hiatus, currently serves on the Selby Board of Trustees. Dr. Luer’s presentation featured a pictorial history of Selby.  D.C. Randle, Selby Research Associate and author of children’s books, developed the environmental studies program for Crossroads School in Minnesota. D.C. spoke about the vital need to involve youth in tropical research. (He seemed quite pleased to later learn that in the hinterland of Arizona, school children are being introduced to orchids.)  Dr. John Atwood spoke about conservation of tropical plant diversity and revealed that Vermont considers itself the “cradle of conservation”. Liberal churches there have a stated goal to protect  tropical habitat. In an innovative approach, John, an accomplished church organist, plans to give organ recitals to raise funds to save tropical rain forests.  Dr. Robert Dressler spoke about plant taxonomy in the 21st century.  Robin Foster, Conservation Ecologist, presented a slide programof his latest trip into Peru and reported that it was not possible to take any plant material out of the country. The only means  available to identify species was to beam photos via satellite.  Dr. David Benzig spoke of the role of botanical gardens in a time of unprecedented global change, and Dr. John Kress discussed the role of botanical gardens and natural history museums now and in the future.   (All of the presentations were video-taped, and when the tape is made available, we might show it during one of our monthly meetings.)  In the panel discussion which followed the presentations, several of the panelists revealed a rather pessimistic view that meaningful changes would happen to reverse the speed with which the remaining  rainforests are disappearing. One member of the audience chided the panelists for not being vocal enough “canaries in the coal mines”. I mean no disrespect to the panelists, but the average age of the men was probably 50. It seems unreasonable to expect that these dedicated scientists, who have devoted their adult lives to research, should also be expected to “sing”. Passionate laymen are capable of rendering assistance in sounding loud warnings and might well make the difference in whether our planet has a bleak or bright future. I came away from the seminar with a renewed sense of purpose that what OSA is doing - exposing Arizona school children to the  treasures of the rain forests - is tantamount to a canary singing in a coal mine. We’re singing as loudly as we can!


In an e-mail received from Norris Williams, Department of Natural History, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Norris states that his laboratory is looking for:  “1. Plant material from hybrids of known parentage which the grower has BOTH the hybrid and BOTH of the actual parental plants. Preferences are for members of the Oncidiinae, Stanhopeinae, Vandeae, and Cypripedioideae, but we are willing to try other groups.  2. Our ongoing projects on molecular systematics of the Oncidiinae, Maxillarinae, Stanhopeinae, Vandeae, and other advanced orchids. We need good material for vouchering and extracting. This could be an inflorescence, or in some cases, just a couple of flowers and if at all possible one growth. The actual amount we need for extracting DNA is small, a piece of leaf about the size of a fingernail, or a flower.”  Thanks to John Atwood for a more complete explanation of which plant parts are needed for DNA studies and how to collect them. “All you need is a test tube filled about 3/4 with silica gel. Pull off a flower or use a sterile razor blade and place the flower in the vial. If you reuse a razor blade, it is important to sterilize it under fire to eliminate contamination... You can use the tip of leaf  tissue, but it is usually tough to grind. All you need is about a square centimeter of material. A soft leaf from the center of a developing vegetative bud is usually easy to grind. ... It is best to  use two flowers, one for DNA, and one for a voucher...  1. Just lay the flower (or flowers in the case of minute ones) on the silica gel, then gently shake the gel over the flower until it is buried.   2. Probably top the vial with silica gel.  3. For vouchering, ideally you should send an entire growth with flowers to be made into an herbarium specimen... However, that means sacrificing a bit of the plant’s production. If not an entire growth, then an inflorescence, or at least a flower [should be submitted for DNA testing]. ... A second flower is bare minimum.  ...a soft leaf still emerging and growing could be used, but at this time, flowers are preferred.”                                 

To contact Norris Williams for instructions on how to package plant material for shipment, send a message to: 

POSSIBLE SILENT AUCTION AT THE MARCH 1 MEETING: Prior to our March meeting, several OSA members are traveling to San Francisco and will attend Pacific Orchid Exposition. For the past several years, our March meetings have featured silent auctions of plants OSA purchased at Orchid Expo. Last year, in addition to plants purchased by growers for their own collections, OSA purchased 177 plants, most of them in bud/bloom, for our March meeting silent auction, AND four OSA members transported all the plants in an assortment of boxes and suitcases with them on their flights back to Phoenix. The tension mounts as the travelers anticipate which plant treasures they will find this year!

By John T. Atwood, Senior Scientist                                  

  For Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

This year Selby Gardens exhibited one of the most spectacular January orchid flowerings in memory. Several paphs were brought into synchronous flowering a full six weeks early. Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, P. philippinense, P. X Mt. Toro, and P. stonei were displayed together with the expected Cattleya percivaliana. Cattleya percivaliana specimens were especially full, and seven containers of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum exhibited a few racemes each with four flowers. Nature doesn’t always do as well. When I visited Paphiopedilum rothschildianum in 1984 growing on its native serpentine cliffs, no natural inflorescence exhibited more than three flowers probably owing to the El Niño-induced drought during the previous season. To what can we attribute this special flowering in Sarasota? Good culture is part of the answer, but the rest is probably the cold treatment. Sarasota experienced severe cold snaps in December and January. Years ago the effects of cold on flowering was tested on Paphiopedilum insigne. Plants subjected to cold displayed far greater flower production than the controls that were kept warm. For a long time temperature drops have been known to trigger flowering in orchids, and some just will not flower without it. Warm nights limit production of standard cymbidiums in Florida, most of which grow well, but rarely flower. As an extreme observation, once I was determined to coax a Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum into flower by subjecting the plant to freezing temperatures. The surface of water in a glass froze when placed beside the plant.  Without apparent harm from the freezing temperatures, the plant flowered a few weeks after it was placed in a warm sunroom.
In  Florida, cold fronts bring real concern for freezing, and some orchids, notably Phalaenopsis, should not be subjected to temperatures much below 55 degrees F. But seasonal cold is useful for triggering the flowering response when danger from freezing can be excluded. Hardiness in some orchids, notably most cattleyas, and Dendrobium bigibbum (Dendrobium phalaenopsis) hybrids is surprising. Robert [Bob] Scully (personal communication) has noted the poor flowering of Cattleya mossiae in Florida because of the higher temperatures.

Understanding natural habitats is key to cultivation of any plant, especially those species collected from the wild, therefore some field observations from the tropics may be useful in understanding the flowering response. Even lowland tropics are occasionally chilly. Once I slung my hammock in a Nicaraguan cloud forest at about 3,000 feet only to awaken to extreme cold intensified by strong winds. I avoided hypothermia by lining my hammock with newspapers that I normally used for pressing plants. Orchids living in this area included Maxillaria mombachoensis, several species of Elleanthus, Sobralia, Epidendrum, and numerous pleurothallids. Cold air drainage on Mt. Kinabalu keeps Paphiopedilum rothschildianum well chilled nightly. I once spent a night in the Philippines at 47 degrees F with Paphiopedilum haynaldianum. In Monteverde, Costa Rica, cold fronts (“nortes”) occur in January and February accompanied by high winds, mist, and rainbows-fine weather for catching pneumonia!
The eighties brought record cold to Sarasota, Florida. After losing six Laelia anceps mounted on pines to the Christmas Eve freeze of 1989, I realized growing epiphytic orchids permanently outside is risky. Still, Dendrobium nobile survived my grim experiment as did Laelia briegeri growing on a south-facing stone wall. The eighties were followed by a mild decade with few frosts and subsequent poor flowering in Cattleya mossiae. Now in returning to the predicted cold cycle I wonder if Selby’s Cattleya mossiae will surprise us this year?

In thanking OSA’s Board of Directors for bestowing Honorary Life Member status on him, Dr. John T. Atwood, Senior Scientist for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens stated: “Your society has been most helpful to me over the past several years. This membership demonstrates your appreciation especially for my articles that you publish in your bulletin, and I will continue to write similar articles from time to time. Thank you for your kind expression of appreciation.” 

Butterfly Quilt raffle tickets will be available at the March meeting:  $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.  Proceeds go to the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs.  Drawing will be June 3, 2001.  Photo is available.

by Monica Hansen                                                                                                                               Graduate Student, Environmental Sciences, Northern Arizona University
For those readers who might not know who I am, I have been the grateful recipient of two OSA scholarships. I received an OSA scholarship which helped me complete my senior year of my Bachelor's degree program in Botany at NAU, and I received another OSA scholarship which enabled me to begin my Master's degree program in Environmental Sciences at NAU. 
I developed my love of plants, especially of orchids, in Indonesia, where I spent my childhood.   I had a wonderful opportunity during this past winter break from my studies, to leave the Ponderosa pines and the snow-covered San Francisco Peaks to journey to the splendid tropical country of Belize. I traveled with my co-worker, a plant ecologist for the USGS-Colorado Plateau Field Station. The purpose of my trip was to compare my thesis topic - studying the effects of harvesting plants by Native Americans within National Parks - to the Belizean perspective of cultural and biological sustainability.
I was surprised to find that Belize is an environmentally aware country. Approximately 40% of the country is preserved with  Eco-tourism providing an income for many of the indigenous peoples. Most people with whom I spoke were concerned with the state of the forests, and billboards abounded with messages about conservation.
My first Eco-tourism adventure was to Caye Caulker off the coast of Central Belize. I went snorkeling within Hol Chan Marine Reserve, swimming with nurse sharks and manta rays, and visiting the mangroves where I saw manatees swimming about. The mangroves provide an excellent opportunity for Eco-tourism as well as promote preservation of the fragile ecosystem. The Belizean government has enforced strict rules on the use of motorboats, trash pick-up, and numbers of tourists permitted within these areas.
My next Eco-tourism adventure was inland - to explore the tropical forests, and of course to see the national flower of Belize, the black orchid (Encyclia cochleata). I spent most of my time in San Ignacio, in Western Belize. Within the Mountain Pine Reserve, I saw many orchids, including Encyclia cochleata, which the locals were proud to display. I spent time canoeing the Macal River and looking at iguanas sunbathing, epiphytes covering the trees, and tropical migratory birds along the river banks. Along the river, we stopped at Panti Medicine Trail. Along the trail are found over 4,000 plant species, with approximately 50 species identified for the tourists. The trail is an example of the effort being made by the Belizean government to incorporate indigenous knowledge and preserve the rainforest. Medicines from the plants along the trail are extracted sustainably for commercial export and provide funds for the maintenance of the reserve. I had not been aware of this method of incorporating local peoples for sustainable cultural and biological preservation, and it seemed revolutionary to me. 
Belize was much more environmentally aware than I expected, and I hope the natural beauty and biological diversity will be preserved for future generations.  As a botanist, I was pleasantly surprised at the effort to support all types of habitat, including the lowland tropical forests, mangroves, and the mountain pine forests. I hope that Eco-tourism will provide financial support for preservation of more areas within Belize and that indigenous peoples will follow sustainable practices that will facilitate preservation of the forests and cultural knowledge of the plants. 

A Warm Thank You
We in the Western Saddle Club and The City of Phoenix want to thank all of you who helped us with The Unique Horse Show and The Special Olympics in January.  Without people like you helping, we couldn’t put this show on.  Also, I hope you enjoyed the kids as much as we enjoyed having you all. 
Hope to see all of you next year. 
Thanks again for helping                                                                            

Fred Rathbun

Virtual Goodies
This month’s website comes to us from 
The site: The Arizona Orchid Society

The Address: Http:/
Things are constantly changing at our web site! Check  us out regularly, or catch up on a past issue of the Orchidist!  Have fun! 

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