The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



Arizona Orchidist Newsletter November 1999

The next Board meeting will be held on Sunday, October  31st, at the home of Lou Ann Remeikis.
Her address is 237 N. Corrine Circle, Gilbert.
Please consult a map for directions.
Phone:          480-892-0263
Time:   1 PM

As always, the meeting is open to all members.

The next regular society monthly meeting will be Thursday, November 4, 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:    Catherine Nelson - beverages; Lois Sauer and Pearl Bays -
edibles.  Our Refreshment Coordinator is Janet Jurn, 623-386-2741.  Call if you have questions.

Grower on call for November is Lou Ann Remeikis

OSA web site is



The last in-house program of this century will be held at our November meeting.  This will be a potting clinic in which we will be working with Phragmipediums.  Phrags, as they are called, are usually thought of as being terrestrial orchids; however, some are epiphytic.  Phrags are sympodial orchids and like constant moisture - the answer to all who tend to overwater.  

Please join us in learning about this orchid genus, and walk away with a greater knowledge of another one of God's gifts.  OSA has a wonderful culture sheet on Phragmipediums, written by a highly knowledgeable member of our society - Phillip Liu.  As many of you know, Phillip sort of specialized in Paphiopedilums,  a relative of Phragmipediums. 

Lou Ann Remeikis 

Thanks go to Willie Stimmell, Keith Mead, Norma Kafer and Natalie Warford for driving to Tucson to pick up our speaker for October, Dr. Guido Braem. It was quite a gesture to drive all the way there and back, getting him to our meeting on time so the membership could enjoy his presentation and chuckle at his witty comments. Thanks to all! 

I mentioned Phillip Liu earlier, and I must officially thank him for his kindness. During previous meetings and in several of the newsletters I spoke of a wealth of books and literature that had been donated to OSA by Del Pace, an OSA member living in the LA area. This generous donation required transportation to Arizona. Phillip drove over from LA in the middle of the night, dropped the books at Willie's garage door, and drove back to LA without letting anyone know he was even coming. Phillip - thank you! But don't do that again without letting us know and giving us an opportunity to thank you properly with a place to sleep and a hot meal before returning on that long journey! 

Our October Raffle Table donations were provided by OSA, Willie Stimmell, Shirley Engberg, Nelda Caldwell, Ed Gamarano, Bob MacLeod, Gerda Gallob, and Steve Grass. There were some wonderful choices for those with the winning tickets. Thanks everyone! 

By the date of the November OSA meeting, we will be 8 days from set up for our Southwest Sunset Orchid show. If you are able, we would appreciate all the volunteer help we can get to set up on Friday, November 12th. We are anticipating an exciting show with educational areas along with the vignettes we have planned. Please review the list of items we are needing and if you have them, please plan on getting them to the Valley Garden Center that Friday, or call someone on the Board to make arrangements for pick-up or delivery of your contributions. In the sale area, there will be orchids, orchids, and MORE orchids. We have attempted to get a nice variety - something for everyone. 

I wish to remind everyone this is also the time to start planning for a great December meeting. Keeping with the traditional December meeting, we will again have the LIVE auction of donated items. These donations come from YOU and ME. For those who have never been a part of our December celebration, we have a lot of fun bidding for the items of your choice. Friendly bidding, of course! Bring your donated item(s) that evening and bid on something someone else brings. It is a perfect time to buy a special gift or plant for that orchid lover on your Christmas list - or yourself! There is an expanded refreshment table because we ask everyone who can to bring something to snack on during the event. Everyone who can attend this holiday meeting will definitely enjoy the evening! 

I am pleased to announce we have two new members from the September meeting: Lucy Redmond-Hall who is new to Arizona from Florida and Anne Girand who came as Kathleen Luther's guest. I understand Anne is involved in growing African Violets, so I am sure she has perfected humidity enough to grow orchids well. Lucy has been active in orchid societies in Florida, and we are pleased to have both of these ladies with us. Welcome to you both! 

Willie, I'm sure, will write of the trip taken to Gubler's Orchid Fair in October, where Willie, Jennifer Hall and her husband, Mike, Jane and Pete Heckel, and Julie Rathbun represented the Orchid Society of Arizona. OSA was part of the Orchid Fair at Gubler's by conducting two orchid clinics for children. We were well received, and well treated by Chris Gubler, and plan on participating again next year. I want to thank those members for making the trip and conducting the presentations on behalf of OSA. I also thank Chris Gubler for his shared enthusiasm in exposing the world of orchids to the children. The children of today are the individuals who will cultivate and maintain the love of orchids in the future! On Sunday, October 17th, Julie Rathbun and myself manned the OSA display at the Valley Garden Center's Fall Plant Sale and Garden Walk. We visited with several old and new friends while we were there, and everyone seemed excited about coming to our show in November. Thanks, Julie, for helping me out that day! 

I hope to see everyone at our November meeting AND also hope to see everyone assist or visit the show on November 13th and 14th! Happy growing - 

Lou Ann 

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator On October 1, 

Ann Cherny, Norma Kafer, Keith Mead, Lou Ann Remeikis, and I presented two programs for students at Scales Professional Development School, 1115 W. 5th St., Tempe. When we arrived, the receptionist in the lobby, buzzed the 4th grade classroom to let the teacher, Suzanne Hobby-Gregory (known affectionately to her students as "Mrs. G") know that we had arrived. A loud chorus of cheers was the response from the students! We discovered that the 2nd and 4th grade classrooms are "open" to each other - with no doors between them. The 2nd grade class is Mrs. Bosen's domain, and we presented our first program for her students. Although they were very excited to see our blooming orchids and were anxious to get started potting their orchid seedlings, the children are well behaved. The lack of a door between the 2nd and 4th grade classrooms did not seem to interfere with the work in progress by the 4th graders. One of the 2nd grade boys told us that HIS orchid would "grow to the sky," but another of his classmates asked in a serious tone whether he could reuse the lava rocks in the bottom of his milk jug greenhouse after his orchid died! Sometimes we have a very difficult time suppressing laughter at some of the comments made by the children. After each student had potted his seedling, the class, accompanied by Mrs. Bosen on guitar, serenaded us with two songs. The lyrics of the songs were about plants and how they grow if they are given good care. We were not sure whether the children were "signing" with their hand gestures, but they were certainly motions that were appropriate for the lyrics. Many of the children had never seen a digital camera before, and they crowded around to examine the "strange" camera. Mrs. G's 4th grade class had evidently studied about orchids before our program because the students knew the answers to quite a few of the questions we asked them. 

We received a packet of colorful thank you notes from the students, and we hope to display the children's art work at our November orchid show! Be sure to look for the display!! 

On October 9, Jen Hall and her husband, Mike, Jane and Pete Heckel, Julie Rathbun, and I journeyed to Landers, CA, where we presented two programs for children who attended the Annual Orchid Festival at Gubler Orchids. Chris Gubler supplied all the seedlings, pots, fir bark, and lava rocks, and the children brought their own milk jugs. We would never have believed that there were 60+ children who lived near the nursery in the high desert, but there are, and we were happy to work with them. 

We presented the first program at 10 a.m. and the second at 2 p.m. For the second program, a number of adults stood on the sidelines and tried to absorb orchid culture information. A mildly amusing event happened before the start of our second program when an elderly lady took her seat at a table reserved for the children. Jane explained to her that she might not be able to keep her seat because the class was fully booked, but...the woman did not budge. We figured it was not worth creating ill will to insist that she give up her seat for a REAL youngster, so we located another chair. It was interesting to note that she didn't seem to mind a bit that all others seated at the table were 6-7 years old! The children enjoyed our programs (as did the elder "youngster"), and many parents thanked us for not only working with their children but also for allowing them to listen to our program. They said they learned more about orchids than they had ever known before! 

On October 14, Shirley Engberg, Julie Rathbun, and I presented two programs at Redbird Elementary School, 1020 S. Extension, Mesa. Sandy Hill, teacher of the 4th grade class, and Sandy Rayburn, teacher of the 2nd grade class, had attended our program at the Southwestern Low Desert Conference in Phoenix on July 29. The 4th grade class is also interested in starting a worm farm in their classroom, so in addition to leaving a copy of Bob Gordon's CULTURE OF THE PHALAENOPSIS ORCHID with the teacher, we also gave her a book titled, THERE'S A HAIR IN MY DIRT: A Worm's Story. (The book appeals to all age groups and was written by Gary Larson [creator of cartoons - The Far Side]. Father Worm explains to Son Worm why Son should not be upset that his food [dirt] has been "contaminated" with a hair. To do that, Father Worm tells Son the story of Harriet, a lover of Mother Nature but a person who is at best misguided and does not understand the natural world.) We hope the children have success growing their orchids AND starting their worm farm. 

A report on the programs we presented on October 26 for 1st grade students at Kyrene de las Lomas Elementary School will appear in our December newsletter. 

We already have two community service programs scheduled for January and two for February, 2000. Since our program team members need to "pace" ourselves, our next available opening for a program is in March. Remember we schedule strictly on a "first come, first serve" basis, so if you know of a school or other group that is "thinking" about asking OSA to do one of our programs, you might suggest to the teacher or Activity Director that they not wait until next year to request a program date.

Finally, I think it will please our program team to know that a well-respected botanist thinks OSA is charting a unique course with our educational programs: "I am impressed with your newsletter and the inclusion of photos of your work with grade school students. I think the focus on educating young people by OSA is unique and a very good thing. I remember being in second grade when we had an assignment to collect as many wildflower species as we could - just the flowers, not the plants. At that time I took little interest in the project, in fact, I think I brought in little more than a dandelion, but I later acquired an interest in wildflowers while most of the rest of the class forgot about them. It was the introduction that counted. You can never tell what will turn on a student."
John Atwood, October 11, 1999 

Part I - Selby Vignettes - Of DNA and Maxillaria by J. T. Atwood, OIC, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL 34236 

Ah, change; dreaded change. How we hate change! Some changes are good-others short sighted-witness the change from Odontoglossum cordatum to Cymbiglossum cordatum to Lemboglossum cordatum, and finally to Rhynchostele cordata! Whether we like it or not, things change, and DNA analysis is changing the way we think about things-especially orchid relationships. 

We hear bits and pieces from Kew Gardens about the relationships of orchids-that Laelia purpurata belongs with the unifoliate cattleyas, etc., a fact unsurprising to even a casual observer unless, of course, he looks only at pollinia number. Facts will eventually lead to drastic changes in the genera that we now accept for species now placed in Cattleya and Laelia. Revolution is also in the air concerning the genus Oncidium defined by the obtuse angle formed by the lip and column possessed by several unrelated groups. The flames of revolution are being fanned by copious new data from DNA analysis generated at University of Florida by Drs. Norris Williams and Mark Whitten. How the data will ultimately affect the acceptance of genera is being debated among various perspectives-cladists, field botanists, and horticulturists to name three. 

A lesser revolution is happening in the genus Maxillaria, perhaps the fourth largest genus (about 650 species) of neotropical orchids, fourth in line with Epidendrum, Pleurothallis and Lepanthes in front. The players include the genera of subtribe Maxillariinae: Mormolyca, Trigonidium, Chrysocycnis, Cyrtidiorchis, Pityphyllum, Sepalosaccus, and (alas) Anthosiphon and Cryptocentrum. There are some attempts to split Maxillaria into segregate genera based on one or two characters. Mark Whitten and Norris Williams have produced some preliminary results that show that this subtribe traditionally united by the single flowered scapes and the duplicate (not pleated or plicate) leaf, form a nice monophyletic or natural group. The problem is that the species of non-Maxillaria that have been tested- Trigonidium, Mormolyca and Cryptocentrum-are all nested within the cradle of Maxillaria, a "no-no" according to modern biological philosophies. With these preliminary samples, we fully expect the rest of the genera to also be evolutionary endpoints of evolution within Maxillaria (although we may get surprises!). The problem could be resolved in two ways: (1) Rename all genera (Mormolyca and others) as Maxillaria. Unlike the Oncidiinae, this solution is tolerable, possibly even desirable-that is, until you include Cryptocentrum. Cryptocentrum has flowers so odd, that botanists not long ago believed it was related to Oncidium. Species of Cryptocentrum might be difficult for most field botanists and horticulturists to swallow if placed in the genus Maxillaria. (2) If Cryptocentrum is retained, then according to the modern philosophies the rest of Maxillaria needs to be disassembled into several genera, a solution requiring genus name changes that not everyone will espouse. Temporary and numerous changes, such as the Rhynchostele example given above have resulted from premature conclusions based on small data sets. DNA sequencing provides large data sets from which (hopefully) few but final changes will be made. If we dislike change, think what life would be like if we accepted Epidendrum as Linnaeus defined it, i.e., including all epiphytic orchids. Could we live with Epidendrum amabile for Phalaenopsis amabilis or Epidendrum aloifolium for Cymbidium aloifolium? 

Part II - Selby Vignettes - The Role of Cladists in Orchid Identification by J. T. Atwood, OIC, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL 34236 

A cladist is someone who estimates trees of relationships through a process called cladistics. Cladistics estimates such trees (phylogenies) by analyzing characters-not just any characters but shared-derived characters, never shared primitive characters. What happens is two or more species or groups of species can independently retain primitive characters. Focus on shared primitive characters can and does give you a very wrong picture of relationships. I fell into this trap myself in analyzing relationships of species of Maxillaria. There is a lot of philosophy, statistics, and computers involved in producing such trees. DNA gives us sufficient characters on which to construct trees of relationship that should increasingly fit the "true" tree with more genes sequenced. The "true" tree may never be known for orchids without a usable fossil record for support. 

I will give you an example of the use of cladistics in an attempt to unveil evolutionary history. My dissertation (Relationships of the Slipper Orchids) utilized a primitive non-computerized method of tree construction when cladistic methodology was still hotly debated. I showed, based on morphological features (and in this case I had quite a few), that Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium must share a common ancestor that was also a plant with duplicate (not plicate as in Cypripedium) leaves. Since these plants are all tropical (often cool tropical), I estimated that Asian and New World populations must have been close, perhaps continuous at one time. 

Well, the most recent time that would have been possible would be about 15 million years ago, just before cooling occurred in the northern hemisphere. The best hypothesis suggests that the connection must have been through what we now call the Pacific Northwest, i.e., the Beringian area, not through Greenland and not through the southern hemisphere. If this sounds far-fetched take a look at a modern frost hardiness map of North America. 

You may be surprised that the end of the Aleutian chain has a zone 8 climate! Now, this place is cold and windy, just the kind of place some slipper orchids love, today. You would only have to raise the hardiness zone one or two numbers to render these paphs and phrags sufficiently hardy to survive at this latitude. This story means, of course, that these orchids must have occurred in the US and Canada, at least in the west, and that they were pushed southward with degrading climates. A northern hypothesis of such a connection helps us understand a few facts about Phragmipedium and even Selenipedium, both relatively primitive to Paphiopedilum and Cypripedium. 

Their species numbers are low, a fact that could be explained if they endured a filter bridge to South America which they must have done within the last 5 million years. Selenipedium, of course, is another part of the story. They are not very diverse compared to Cypripedium, and are known in northern tropical South America, not in southern tropical South America, and no temperate species have evolved in the far south as one would expect if there had been a southern route for the connection of slipper orchids between continents. Another fact in support of the northern routes for duplicate leaved slipper orchids is the fact the diversity of Paphiopedilum drastically is reduced south of Wallace's Line*. Odd facts also pop up in support of this story. The discovery of Mexipedium in Mexico is probably no accident. In the context of the story, Mexipedium is a relic very close to the common ancestory of both genera and is probably most similar to the kinds of plants that went extinct in western North America. So the story states that Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium probably were one thing 15 million years ago. 

After my dissertation was published, Victor Albert repeated the work on a larger sample size using DNA evidence. He found that the differences in the DNA between Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium could be accounted for if they diverged about 9-15 million years ago, based on assumptions about the molecular clock. This was nice supporting evidence for my story. The more evidence that is mutually supporting the more believable the story. But these are stories, all the same, and unlike religion we must always be open to new evidence that may shatter our stories to pieces. 

I have given you a much simplified explanation of what cladists do, but it can be fascinating. Only two percent of flowering plants have had any analysis for DNA. When I was at the International Botanical Congress at the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the leaders in cladistics, Dr. Michael Donohue, announced that the earliest branch of the flowering plants has been determined and confirmed-a little known shrub from New Caledonia called Amborella in the Amborellaceae. Although the plant has a suite of characters that one would call primitive, it also has advanced morphological features as one would expect from a line that has been around so long. But it took cladistics based on a lot of DNA evidence to discover its place in the scheme of flowering plant relationships. It was cladistics that revealed the now well held story that dinosaurs didn't go totally extinct-there are survivors and we now call them "birds!" If you haven't contemplated that, it is real food for thought! 

Editor's Note: The Wallace Line divides the western portion from the eastern portion of the Malayan Archipelago. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) developed the line by studying and comparing the plants and animals in each portion. For further reading, see ORCHID DIGEST, Vol. 55, No. 2, 1991, Malaya Revisited: Part XXXVI: the Wallace Line and Orchids, pages 71-74. 

My First Trip to the Fifth Annual San Diego International Orchid Fair
by Jennifer Hall 

After months of anticipation the wait was almost over, all I had to do was make it through Friday and I would be going to the Fifth Annual San Diego International Orchid Fair. During the afternoon I was restless not knowing what to expect from tomorrow's journey. Suffering through Friday traffic, I made it home to pack a few last minute items, tend to my babies (assuring them I would bring them home some fine brothers and sisters), and waited for traffic to die down before heading down to Mesa to stay the night with my parents. (It was Mom that gave me my first orchid last Christmas.) 

Arriving at the Heckel homestead, things were busy as usual and it was apparent that I was not the only one excited about our trip. The evening crawled along and just before bed we were discussing how much money we were taking with us. In a low voice I said, "There is no way I am going to spend all the money I'm bringing." A smirk and a knowing look from my mother, Jane Heckel, met this statement. 

Sometime in the wee hours of Saturday September 25th twenty-three alarm clocks went off and I am sure that I am not the only one that groaned. That was quickly replaced with one thought. "It's here!" Just like a kid Christmas morning. 

We got to the airport and met up with the rest of the group, most were quiet but that was probably due to the hour. For several others this was their first trip also and a current of excitement went through the group as we got our boarding passes. We were on our way! The flight went smoothly, the weather was beautiful when we arrived (in the low 70s and overcast), and the bus was waiting at the airport. It turned out that our driver, Teresa, drove the OSA group two years ago. After a short drive we pulled into the parking lot at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. 

Signs directed us to a large conference hall. The first thing we saw was the show area, a large room with table after table of exquisite blooms laid out before us. After grabbing a show schedule and digging out a pen, Jane and I set out to wander among the tables checking off our "wish list" and drooling slightly as we went. Had I not been hooked before, this event would have done it. All I could think was had Eve been told not to touch the orchids instead of the apples, she would have been thrown out of Eden A LOT sooner. 

With wish list firmly in hand it was time to move into the vendor area. Greeted with a swap-meet style set up I was temporarily overwhelmed. After seeing maybe a dozen or so plants at Fred Meyers, Home Depot, or the silent auctions at OSA meetings, THIS was a gold mine of shopping pleasure. 

I stuck by Jane for a bit feeling a bit out of my league, but after pestering her with questions about a host of things, I decided to pull up my proverbial bootstraps and set off on my own. I wanted EVERYTHING but I paced myself and went through the place twice before I bought anything. (Well, almost. There were these three little Brassavola Cuculatta's for two dollars that found their way into a bag before I could stop them). 

There were vendors from Mexico, the Philippines, Hawaii, and a host of other distant locations as well as regional growers providing a wide variety of plants. Prices started at two dollars and rose from there depending on the size, age, whether or not the plant had bloom spikes, and rarity of the plants. Quality and health also varied greatly between vendors. Now duly equipped with knowledge, I set out to expand my family. I wanted to try a variety of plants and got the opportunity. After a while, Jane and I reconnected to take our first load of purchases to the bus; then we went to grab an appetizing hot dog ($3.25). For a single can of soda they got a whopping $2. Where the orchids flourished, food services fell extremely short. Thus somewhat nourished, we continued shopping. 

The group decided to go for lunch on the way to the airport so we met back at the bus to pack our plants for the trip home. This was another new experience, but I had plenty of advice and help so all plants made it home safely. Our flight home was uneventful, especially after the stories I heard of last year's trip (those who made the trip last year cheered when we took off). Other than a half-hour delay on the tarmac in Phoenix, it was a wonderful trip. I learned a lot, have a lot of ideas how to handle the plants as I shop next year, and learned to set aside money to tip the driver before I spend everything and have to count out change. This trip is a definite must-do on the yearly calendar. 

And to my mother, who gave me my first orchid less than a year ago and wasn't sure how I received the gift (I was scared to death that I would kill it within a month and I think it showed in my face), I want to say thank you, for I understand the beauty and peace these little plants bring into ones life. Thank you. 

NOVEMBER BIRTHDAYS 3rd - Harry Tolen 7th - Peggy Stejskal 9th - Bonnie Scott 12th - Josephine Gabos 14th - Anne Connor 15th - Jeff Shaffer 23rd - Henri Pawlak 24th - Candy Pelz 25th - Lu Robinson HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVERYONE!!! S


Contact Keith Mead 480-496-5762 OCTOBER RECAP Dr. Braem's talk was educational and entertaining. Dr. Braem is a big man as was the subject of his talk. First he gave us some pointers on how to identify an orchid. It seems historically there has been not only confusion but disagreement about what constitutes an orchid. He showed us slides of various oncidiums, some of which look like the oncidiums that we are used to (Sharry Baby) and others which were marvelous. Dr. Braem is also an historian on the study of orchids where taxonomy is in question. He regularly has differing opinions from the elderly judges. It seems that if the history was taken into account that the taxonomy would be much more orderly and not so confusing. Dr. Braem had us in stitches most of the time. If you missed him this time, make sure you hear his follow-up talk in 2001. He is good. 
Norma Kafer
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