THE NEMOS NEWS - Orchid Societies Council of Victoria Inc

December 2014. Issue no. 261
The monthly newsletter of the
North East Melbourne Orchid Society Inc.
President: Michael Coker
Secretary: Glenda Warren
Editor: Brian Milligan ([email protected])
NEMOS meets on the third Monday of each
month at the Marwal Centre,
9-11 Marwal Avenue, Balwyn North (Mel. 46B3). Culture Corner, the early session for new
growers, commences at 7.15 pm (except Dec.).
The main meeting begins at 8.00 pm.
Visitors are welcome.
The first Item of the Evening will be a
Christmas Dinner, which is scheduled to
commence at 6.30 pm. Please note that to
participate, you must have booked for this
dinner and paid the subsidised fee of $15.00 per
head ($20 for guests). If you failed to pay our
treasurer, John Skews, at the November
meeting, it may not be too late - please call him
immediately (9439 8890), so that he can notify
the caterer. You may also invite family or
friends to join you at our Christmas
celebrations. If they accept, you will also need
to advise John Skews immediately, and pay the
$20 per head on their behalf.
The meal will consist of a range of roast meats
with baked potatoes (plus various salads) as the
main course and a choice of desserts.
Remember to bring your own drinks, glasses
and nibbles, and also your own cutlery unless
you’re happy to use the plastic cutlery that the
caterer may supply.
I will open the hall early for the caterer, and
would like assistance from a few able-bodied
members at 5.30 pm to help set up the dining
tables, auction tables and show benches before
other members begin to arrive.
The meeting will commence at the usual time of
8.00 pm with the distribution of prizes. Those
who finished in the first six places in the Open
section, and those who finished first, second or
third in the Intermediate and Novice sections in
the annual show-bench competition will receive
cash prizes. Cumulative points scores for the
period of the competition (December 2013 to
November 2014) are shown at the end of this
Editor: Brian Milligan
Page 1
bulletin. The names of the prize winners in
each Section are underlined.
The main item of the meeting will be an Orchid
Auction, held to help defray the Society’s costs
for the dinner. Members are asked to donate
one or two good orchids for sale at this auction.
Newer members should note that NEMOS
doesn’t expect you to have plants to donate, but
we do urge you to buy a few plants for your
collection during the evening. During the
auction the auctioneers will tell participants
which plants grow under cool conditions and
those plants which need heat, and also provide
other pertinent information. Buyers need to
bring cash, as our treasurer cannot accept credit
There will be a Special Christmas Raffle.
Tickets will be $2 each, or three for $5. The
first prize is a hamper packed with enough
goodies to celebrate Christmas in style, while
the second and third prizes are smaller baskets
of Christmas treats. We thank Carmen Gobbi
for assembling the contents of the hamper and
Because of the early start, there will be NO
Culture Corner session in December. Nor will
there be a formal sales bench at this meeting.
However, please Bring Your Show Orchids,
as the 2015 Show-bench Competition starts
in December (2014)!
PRESIDENT’S REPORT – December 2014
As I mentioned at the November meeting, our
order of Orchiata bark bags will be delivered to
our Christmas meeting, not by Besgrow, but
very kindly by the Simonetto family! Michael
Simonetto is President of the Orchid Species
Society of Victoria, his wife Allison is
Treasurer of OSSV and their daughter Zoe is a
fabulous helper at OSSV. Neither OSSV nor
NEMOS ordered sufficient bags to fill a whole
pallet – but together we have almost enough to
fill a pallet. Not only are the Simonettos some
of the finest growers of orchids in Victoria
(there are few orchids that I can grow as well as
them), but they are very generous in helping us
out with transportation. Please make them feel
welcome at the December meeting. Please also
make sure you bring your payment for your preordered bark to the meeting. John Skews is not
a big fan of IOUs!
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014
The discussion we had at the November
meeting on shade cloth types and colours was
very interesting. As I always say – there is no
universal formula for success in growing
orchids, you should always listen to what other
growers do, and what they recommend, and
adapt that information to your circumstances.
Don’t just adopt the latest trend or change your
approach just because someone said it works for
them. If you’re in doubt about what to do – ask
one of our senior growers, as they will
invariably be happy to help you out.
It was great to see Lilanga Balachandra win
Judges’ Vote at the November meeting. Not
often does a Novice exhibitor take out the big
prize – and it’s always a delight when that
happens. The standard has now been set high,
but their efforts should be an inspiration for all
people in the Intermediate and Novice classes.
The audience at a NEMOS meeting 21 years ago
Shade-house Species.
Dendrobium nobile, D. striolatum, Masdevallia
hartmannii, Satyrium ligulatum.
The return of the Neopabstopetalum seedlings
in November was fascinating– there is clearly a
wide range of conditions under which our plants
are grown, and this provided an opportunity for
Members to share their growing hints, or for
some, suggestions on what not to do! I wonder
how many of those green Maudiae-type
paphiopedilum seedlings that I de-flasked about
two years ago are still growing well? We
should call these back sometime in early 2015
just to see!
Finally – please think of what you might be able
to donate for our Auction at the Christmas
meeting. I know of a few donations already,
and there will be some special plants on offer.
Bye for now, see you in December.
It’s now 21 years since NEMOS held its first
meeting in the Marwal Centre (for the first nine
months we met at Bulleen Heights School). We
moved because we had attracted too many
members to fit comfortably in the school hall!
If you examine the photograph below, you will
see that we almost filled the Marwal Centre at
our Christmas 1993 meeting.
It must have been an interesting meeting,
because only one member of the audience
seems to be asleep! The rest of the audience
seems to be wide awake – no doubt enthralled
by the presentation on disas by your modest
Editor: Brian Milligan
Page 2
Sarcochilus hartmannii
Shade-house Hybrids. Dendrobium Stephen,
D. Yukidaruma, D. Snowflake, Lycaste
Macama, Masdevallia Cuzco Gold, M.
Pichincha, M. Sun Dancer, Sarcochilus Cherie,
S. Fitzhart, S. George Colthup, S. Melba.
Sarcochilus George Colthup
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014
Glass-house Species. Barkeria spectabilis,
Coelogyne lawrenceana, Cynorkis guttata,
Leptotes bicolor, Oncidium laeve, Polystachya
Philippines, just to name a few countries where
it is found). It is often found on limestone cliff
faces at altitudes between 300 and 2500 m.
There are two leaves per pseudo-bulb and it
flowers in the autumn. The inflorescences bear
many small green flowers that are arranged in
such a way as to give rise to the common name,
bottlebrush orchid. Although the flowers have a
strong odour, it is not as repulsive as that of the
Australian Liparis reflexa (which is sometimes
referred to as “the cat’s pee” orchid)!
Barkeria spectabilis
Liparis viridiflora
Odontoglossum crispum
Leptotes bicolor
Glass-house Hybrids.
Monarch ‘Everglades’.
Oncidium Jungle
Liparis viridiflora
There are about 250 species in the mainly Asian
genus Liparis, most of which grow terrestrially
in temperate or tropical regions. The name
Liparis refers to the shiny leaves – each pseudobulb bears either one or two. Eight species are
found in Australia, the most commonly grown
being Liparis reflexa, L. swenssonii and L.
nugentae. Although the genus Cestichis has
been proposed for these and a few other Liparis
species, the name has not been accepted by the
authorities at Kew.
Liparis viridiflora is not found in Australia but
is widespread throughout south-east Asia (lower
India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China and the
Editor: Brian Milligan
Page 3
Sadly that most popular of all orchids among
Odontoglossum crispum, has perished at the
hands of a ruthless band of British taxonomists.
Not content with changing the species epithet
crispum, they have completely exterminated the
much loved genus, Odontoglossum! Henceforth
Odontoglossum crispum is deemed to be known
as Oncidium alexandrae.
The following article, entitled Odontoglossum
crispum, is an updated version of one that I
wrote for the Journal of the Orchid Species
Society of Victoria (2001, Vol. 19, pp. 1-2) a
few years before it ceased publication.
Odontoglossum crispum (now known as
Oncidium alexandrae - but not in this
by Brian Milligan
This cool-growing central American orchid was
the most popular of all orchids in England in the
second half of the nineteenth century, partly
because the climate was so well suited to its
successful cultivation but also because plants of
this species collected from the jungle were so
variable that there was always the possibility of
flowering a cultivar that one could sell for
hundreds of pounds!
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014
In his book Orchids for Everyone (1910),
Charles Curtis wrote: “This fascinating Orchid
has much to answer for. It has lured men to
their death, it has tempted fanciers to pay
enormous sums of money for a rare and
distinctly marked variation from the general
type, and it has induced many a lover of flowers
to make his or her first attempt at Orchid
culture. Not to admire Odontoglossums seems
to be quite outside the bounds of possibility”.
Odontoglossum crispum was first collected by
Karl Hartweg, who travelled to Colombia in
1841 to collect orchids and other plants for the
Horticultural Society of London (now the Royal
Horticultural Society).
His plants were
collected near Pacho, some 50 Km north of
Bogota, on the western branches and spurs of
the eastern Cordillera of the Andes Mountains.
Later the range of this orchid was found to
extend south from Pacho for about 300 km,
always at altitudes between 2250 and 2600 m.
Odontoglossum crispum (unblotched, fair shape)
Plants collected by Hartweg in 1841-1842 soon
died because of the “incredible folly persisted in
at that time of growing cool Orchids in hot
stoves” (according to James Bateman) and it
was another 20 years before new shipments
were introduced to Britain. By coincidence
three rival collectors were sent to Bogota at the
same time, finding themselves travelling
together on the same ship! By that time (1863)
Paxton and other British gardeners had shown
that orchids collected at high altitudes grew
much better at moderate temperatures,
especially if provided with good air movement,
and Odontoglossum crispum soon became
widely established in cultivation. By the end of
the 19th century an entire glasshouse devoted to
Odontoglossum crispum was by no means
unusual for the big English estates, the cut
Editor: Brian Milligan
Page 4
flowers being used to decorate their dining
tables and drawing rooms.
Curtis’ book Orchids for Everyone (1910)
contains an interesting account of the
importation of odontoglossums into Britain
about 120 years ago. “Sorry looking things are
Odontoglossums when they arrive in temperate
countries after a long journey through the
Torn ruthlessly from their homes,
roots broken and leaves cut away, they suffer
many indignities, and frequently they are
exposed to the sun for some time, so that the
excess of moisture is extracted from them. This
treatment is necessary, so that when the plants
are finally packed in dry material for their long
journey, there is little risk from damp and its
attendant evils of fermentation and overheating. When packed very green, there is a
great danger of Orchids commencing to grow
while on the journey, and such growth, made in
the dark, can seldom be saved”. There was
quite an art in resurrecting these plants after
they arrived but it is irrelevant here, because
virtually all plants available to us today are
raised from seed, rather than collected from the
Curtis provided some useful cultural advice
based upon observations as to where
Odontoglossum crispum grows and flowers best
in the wild: “Odontoglossums grow for the
most part in forests composed largely of trees
belonging to the Cinchona, Walnut and Oak
These forests are dense and
evergreen, consequently the sun’s rays, though
often practically vertical, have to filter through
the leaves ere they reach the Orchids. But
collectors tell us that the plants are most
numerous where ravines or streams break up the
level and general density of the forest, and it is
at such points that the air circulates the most
freely and the light penetrates most readily to
the plants. There is also a great difference in
the size of the pseudo-bulbs of plants that grow
in these lighter positions, as compared with
those growing deeper in shade; under the
influence of greater shade the pseudo-bulbs are
considerably longer than where there is more
light, but this does not necessarily mean that the
spikes are stronger or the flowers larger”.
Obviously it is a mistake to grow Odontoglossum crispum in heavy shade, even though
these conditions may produce attractive, lush
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014
Some idea of the scale on which
Odontoglossum crispum was grown in England
120-odd years ago, and the wide variation in the
price of the plants, can be gauged from the
following extract from Curtis’ book:
batches of thousands of imported plants
scarcely will any two be alike, so variable is this
wonderful Orchid. Some will have thin, spidery
flowers, and be hardly worth growing, but
plenty will be of good, useful size, substance
and character, and a few maybe will be well
above average. A beginner may start with
plants ranging in price from £5 to £25 per
hundred. Varieties of the purest and unspotted
white, if of fine, rounded form, are rare,
beautiful and expensive; but far more valuable
are the heavily blotched and deeply coloured
varieties, and for extraordinarily fine varieties
of this kind, sums ranging from £250 to £1000
have been paid”.
The Orchid Review (1937, 45, 314) carries an
account of some of the more memorable duels
that occurred between rival bidders at auction
sales over the years, especially for the most
highly regarded “blotched crispums”. For the
most part the plants sold were “duplicates”, that
is, divisions of an original plant that was
retained by the vendor. Among the orchids sold
on 31 May in 1904 were six different cultivars
of Odontoglossum crispum, no doubt all of
them “blotched”. Prices paid ranged from 180
to 640 guineas! But these prices were by no
means a record, as O. crispum ‘Pittianum’
FCC/RHS had previously been sold for 1150
guineas. A plant of O. crispum ‘Fred Sander’
was also sold for £1500 in 1904, according to
Arthur Swinson in his book Frederick Sander:
The Orchid King (1970), from which the
accompanying picture was copied!
Some of the buyers who grew their plants well
were subsequently able to divide them and
recoup their initial expense, while others used
them for breeding purposes. But some must
have been feeling rather sick 20 years later,
when the bottom fell out of the market for
“blotched crispums”. There were two reasons
for the dramatic fall in value. Many growers
withdrew from the hobby during World War 1
(1914-1918) and money was not as easy to find
after the war as before. Also, hybridisers had
found the secret to breeding orchid hybrids with
flowers similar to those of the “blotched
crispums”. As an example of how prices
plummeted, compare the prices paid for
‘Gairianum’ in 1906 (900 guineas) and in 1919
(3.5 guineas)!
Unfortunately, we see relatively few plants of
Odontoglossum crispum on our show benches
in Australia, as it is not an easy orchid to grow
well here. Temperatures in its native habitat
seldom exceed 25°C and it fares badly during
Melbourne’s summer weather. However, if you
have the facilities to maintain a buoyant, humid
environment within the temperature range of 825°C then you should be able to grow and
flower “the Queen of cool-growing orchids” to
SEEING RED: Masdevallia ignea
Masdevallia ignea, a native of Colombia, was
first described by H.G. Reichenbach in 1871. It
is a terrestrial orchid found on the eastern range
of the Colombian Andes at altitudes between
8500 and 11,000 feet (2500-3300 m). Its plants
vary with the altitude at which they are found,
those at lower levels having longer leaves and
flower stems. Plants found at upper levels are
Odontoglossum crispum ‘Fred Sander’
Editor: Brian Milligan
O. crispum ‘Veitchianum’
(from a chromolithographic print in The Florist and
Pomologist of December 1884, p.177).
Page 5
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014
said to be smaller and the colour of their
flowers more variable.
Phalaenopsis Brother Kaiser L. Balachandra
Popular Vote
no record
Miltoniopsis Lycaena ‘St’land’
M. Coker
Feb. Habenaria medusa
M. Coker
Mar. Cattleya Minerva
C. Gobbi
Apr. Phal. I-Hsin Pudding Poppy
M. Coker
no record
Oncidesa Sweet Sugar
C. Gobbi
Dinema polybulbon
J. Skews
Aug. Dendrobium harveyanum
M. Coker
no record
Trichopilia suavis
M. Coker
Nov. Cattleya purpurata
F. & J. Coker
Best Culture
Masdevallia ignea ‘Frances’
Plants in cultivation today have flowers that
vary in colour from orange through to a brilliant
deep red, each lateral sepal carrying three broad
stripes of a slightly deeper shade. One of the
most spectacular cultivars grown in Victoria is
Julian and Frances Coker’s awarded
Masdevallia ignea ‘Frances’ HCC/OSCOV,
which has flowers of a deep red colour.
Because of its lofty native habitat, M. ignea
dislikes Melbourne’s hot summer, and does
better if provided with evaporative cooling
during that season.
However, it doesn’t
automatically follow that this species enjoys our
cold winter weather, and I have found that
plants grown in my glasshouse at a minimum
temperature of about 10˚C all year do slightly
better than those grown in the shade-house. BM
Judges’ Vote
Dec.’13 Cattleya Royal Beau ‘Stanley’
Paph. Harold Koopowitz
Feb. Paph. Harold Koopowitz
Mar. Miltonia moreliana ‘Campbell’
Apr. Phal. I-Hsin Pudding Poppy
May Bulbo. Eliz. Ann ‘Buckleberry’
Oncidesa Sweet Sugar
Dinema polybulbon
Aug. Paphiopedilum rothschildianum
Sep. Paphiopedilum Orchilla ‘Chilton’
Trichopilia suavis
Editor: Brian Milligan
M. Coker
M. Coker
M. Coker
M. Coker
M. Coker
M. Coker
C. Gobbi
J. Skews
M. Coker
M. Coker
M. Coker
Page 6
Dec.’13 Oncidium sphacelatum
S. Giarrusso
Oncidium Ellen Williams B. & L. Milligan
Feb. Stenoglottis woodii
J. Newitt
Mar. Epidendrum porpax
J. Skews
Apr. Gomesa radicans
M. Coker
May Bulbo. Eliz. Ann ‘Buckleberry’
M. Coker
Dendrochilum convallariiforme
J. Skews
Dinema polybulbon
J. Skews
Aug. Paphiopedilum rothschildianum M. Coker
Sep. Dendrochilum tenellum
B. & L. Milligan
Phragmipedium Living Fire S. Tsoumbakos
Nov. Sarcochilus Melba
B. & L. Milligan
1st. Sweet Devon ‘Beenak’
T. & G. Warren
1st. Sarco. Melba
B. & L. Milligan
2nd. Sarco. Cracker
M. Pender
3rd. Sarco. (Karen x Fitzhart)
M. Pender
1st. C. Bob Betts x Lc. Wake
A. Hope
2nd. Rlc. (Dal’s Fry x Mem. Warren Jones) J. Skews
1st. Cattlianthe Trick or Treat
T. Jones
3nd. (Rhyncattlianthe Love Sound x C. Mari’s
T. Jones
3rd. C. Heathii
J. Skews
1st. Snowflake
B. & L. Milligan
2nd. (Marie Dalmeny x Mousmee)
F. & J. Coker
3rd. Mingle’s Sapphire
M. Coker
1st. Lyc. Macama ‘Atlantis’
F. & J. Coker
2nd. Lyc. Macama ‘Atlantis’
B. & L. Milligan
3rd. Lycastenaria Darius
B. & L. Milligan
1st. Cuzco Gold
B. & L. Milligan
2nd. (Sun Dancer x Bob Hoffman) B. & L. Milligan
3rd. Sun Dancer
B. & L. Milligan
1st. Mtps. Herman Sweet ‘Bonfire’
J. Skews
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014
1st. Psychopsis Kalihi
M. Coker
PAPHIOPEDILUM: Exhibition Style
1st. (Stone Lovely x Icy Galaxy)
M. Coker
1st. (Hsingying Emma x Hsingying Dragon)
M. Coker
1st. Henrietta Fujiwara
M. Coker
2 . (rothschildianum x St. Swithin)
M. Coker
3rd. Fumi’s Delight
A. Hope
1st. P. delenatii
M. Coker
2nd. P. lowii
S. Tsoumbakos
3rd. P. wardii
A. Hope
1st. Layla Beard
A. Hope
2nd. (Golden Sun x Brother Spotter) x Dendi’s
A. Hope
3rd. unknown
M. Coker
1st. Cattleya purpurata
F. & J. Coker
2nd. Maxillaria triloris ‘Mike’
F. & J. Coker
3rd. Oncidium laeve
B. & L. Milligan
1st. Aerides rosea
M. Coker
2nd. Dendrobium thrysiflorum
A. Hope
3rd. Phalaenopsis stuartiana
A. Hope
1st. Cynorkis guttata
B. & L. Milligan
2nd. Angraecum didieri
M. Coker
1st. Sartylis Blue Knob ‘TJ’
T. & G. Warren
2nd. Phragmipedium Jason Fischer
M. Coker
3 . Phragmipedium Living Fire ‘Anastasia’
S. Tsoumbakos
1st. Sarco. (Zoe x Orange Glow) = Sarco. Joy
M. Pender
2nd. Lycaste (Shoalhaven x Above Ritz)
F. & J. Coker
3rd. Paph. (delenatii x wenshanense)
M. Coker
1st. Pee Wee
J. Newitt
2 . Cricket
J. Newitt
3rd. Tennis
J. Newitt
1st. Sarco. Fizzy Dove
J. Newitt
2nd. Sarco. (ceciliae x Fitzhart) = Powder Puff
(registered by Florafest in 1993)
M. Newitt
1st. Sarco. hartmannii
I. Forrest
1st. Brother Lawrence
M. Newitt
1st. Bifrenaria harrisoniae
M. Newitt
2 . Cattleya intermedia
J. Newitt
3rd. Masdevallia ignea ‘Frances’
J. Newitt
Editor: Brian Milligan
Page 7
1st. Dendrobium moniliforme
J. Newitt
1st. Sarco. Cindy
J. Newitt
1st. Sarco. (Cream Cake x hartmannii) = Cream
Hart (registered by Butler in 2008)
J. Young
2 . Sarco. (fitzgeraldii x Sandon Rose)
J. Young
1st. Cymbidium suave
J. Young
2nd. Sarco. hartmannii
J. Young
1st. Brother Kaiser
L. Balachandra
2 . Surf Song
L. Balachandra
3rd. Wedding Promenade
L. Balachandra
Phalaenopsis Brother Kaiser Lilanga Balachandra
Cattleya purpurata
Frances & Julian Coker
Sarcochilus hartmannii ‘Moorland Symphony’
Ian Forrest
Sarcochilus (Zoe x Orange Glow) = Sarco. Joy
(registered by N. Roper in 2008)
Michael Pender
Sarcochilus Melba Brian & Lorraine Milligan
(December 2013 – November 2014)
Those exhibitors whose names are underlined
will receive cheques at the Christmas meeting.
The numbers in brackets indicate the number of
plants exhibited during the year.
Open Section. M. Coker, 365 (167); B. & L.
Milligan, 274 (131); A. Hope, 246 (165); S.
Giarrusso, 123 (46); J. Skews, 103 (73); T.
Jones, 55 (22); F. & J. Coker, 49 (14); R.
Rowlands, 33 (11); T. & G. Warren, 31 (9); M.
Pender, 23 (13); S. Tsoumbakos, 20 (8); J. & B.
Filgate, 15 (8); J. Doney, 7 (2).
Intermediate Section. M. Lagos, 192 (69); J.
Newitt, 173 (57); M. Newitt, 86 (27); R. & M.
Thomson, 69 (33); I. Forrest 53 (18); K. & B.
Jardine, 15 (4); T. Eastaugh, 4 (1).
Novice Section. J. Young, 84 (26); C. Gobbi,
54 (18); L. Balachandra, 24 (7); J. Nolan, 19
(7); J. Lowe, 8 (2); B. & K. Kurioka, 4 (1); B.
Williams, 4 (1); W. Yu, 2 (1); L. Job, 1 (1).
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014
Editor: Brian Milligan
Page 8
THE NEMOS NEWS: December 2014