Tuesday, November 6, 2012

OCTOBER 2012 Cycnoches Species & Hybrids published

The American Orchid Society has published with the October 2012 issue of Orchids  a supplement on the genus Cycnoches.  The supplement contains my article on the genus and its hybrids and Fred C. Clarke's article on Growing Cycnoches.  The supplement was supplied at no extra charge to members of the American Orchid Society, however, non-members or persons who wish additional copies may purchase them at US$10.00 per copy plus postage and handling.  Anyone interested should contact Naya D. Marcano naya@aos.org for details about postage costs.  Payment is accepted by credit card. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


RICHARD FULFORD WHOSE EXPERIENCES I REPORTED LAST MONTH WITH HIS Cycnoches Richard Brandon, JUST EMAILED ME THAT HE HAD TRIED THIS TREATMENT ON HIS PLANT OF Clowesia Jumbo Grace (Cl Grace Dunn X Cl Rebecca Northen). Unlike the reaction of the Cycnoches, the Clowesia did not lose its fragrance and the flowers began to deteriorate. He took the plant out of the dark and moved it back outside in the 40-60 degree temperatures. He reports that the plant "perked up" and the flowers stopped deteriorating and remained fragrant. Unfortunately when he took it to judging it was passed with the comment that the flowers were past their prime. I can only speculate that perhaps the difference in reaction might be because Cycnoches bear male and female flowers whereas Clowesia are perfect flowers. I would very much like to know how female Cycnoches and Catasetum flowers would react to the darkroom treatment. If anyone has experience with this, please let me know.
Thanks to Richard for his observations and providing me with the information and the picture. Richard's plant illustrates one of the best features of Clowesia - the potential for amazing flowering on a small plant. Richard's plant has 130 flowers. You will note that it is completely leafless which is normal especially for the this hybrid and its parent species.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cycnoches Richard Brandon 'Nicola' AM/AOS

December 11, Richard Fulford, a fellow Catasetinae fan and judge in the Florida/Caribbean Center, emailed that he had a beautiful plant of Cycnoches Richard Brandon in flower that he wanted to take to judging but the next judging in Florida/Caribbean was the following Saturday, December 17. He asked if I had any suggestions to prolong the flowers in good condition for the week until judging. I suggested that once the flowers were fully expanded, he should place them in a slightly cooler location with low or no light. He followed my suggestion. His observations of the flowers while in the dark are a fascinating study in the operation of the aging process of the flowers. Cycnoches Richard Brandon is a cross of Cycnoches warscewiczii X Cycnoches Jean E. Monnier (C. barthiorum X C. cooperi), made by Fred Clarke and registered by R.F. Orchids in May of this year.

The hybrid, like its component species, is extremely fragrant. Richard observed that after a short time in the dark, the fragrance disappeared. Fragrance indicates that the flower is mature and the pollen (in the male flowers) or the stigma (in the female flowers) is receptive for fertilization, a part of the aging process of the flowers. I think the disappearance of the fragrance means that the aging of the flowers was suspended during the period in the dark. When Richard brought the plant back into light, the fragrance returned. The flowers were granted an Award of Merit of 82 points at the December 17 judging at Florida Caribbean. I congratulate Richard on his well deserved award and on his observation of this process which I have never seen reported before. The pictures of Cycnoches Richard Brandon 'Nicola' that appear with this blog were taken by Richard.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cattleya walkeriana books available for sale

If you wish to buy copies of Lou Menezes' new book Cattleya walkeriana all the information is on the page of Brazilian orchid literature on this site. If interested, email me at cycnoches@verizon.net or catasetinae@verizon.net. thank you

Monday, December 13, 2010

Introduction to the Catasetinae article

On Dec. 12, 2010, I posted a new page "Introduction to the Catasetinae" which is an article I was invited to write for the Scottish Orchid Society 2010 Bulletin. The article was published recently and I thought it might be of interest. It is an introductory article to the subtribe but I hope even the most advanced grower might find it of interest.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The fourth interesting Catasetinae flower picture that I received in January was a Mormodes awarded in the Cincinnati Judging Center  as Mormodes speciosa. The plant belongs to Jordan Hawley from Kentucky and was granted an HCC pending verification of the species. Jordan emailed me the award picture and a copy of the award requesting my verification.  From the picture, I thought that the flower did not appear to be M. speciosa so I requested a flowerAward Photo

The flower looked very much like the Mormodes colossa that was identified in December as the first in this group but to be sure I requested that Jordan send me one of the flowers and additional pictures of the entire plant and side views of the flower.  When identifying any flower the first question I ask is the origin of the plant, either the country or the vendor from whom it was purchased.  Jordan had purchased the plant at the World Orchid Conference in January 2007 but didn’t remember the vendor or country of origin.  The examination of the flower and the additional pictures confirmed my initial impression that this was a beautiful example of Mormodes colossa Reichenbach f. and not Mormodes speciosa Linden ex Lindley & Paxton.  039 compressed Mormodes speciosa is endemic to Colombia and the lip is trilobate.  The lip of this flower is clearly not lobed.  On checking the Mormodes species, this flower fits perfectly the description from Robert Dressler’s  Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama which I paraphrase: Lip glabrous, not lobed, triangular-ovate,  base of the blade folded down but not curled, so that the lip appears triangular in side-view. 

It is should be noted that the Kew Monocot checklist follows the original description which named the species Mormodes colossum but since of Drs Dressler and Salazar call the species Mormodes colossa I have chosen to use their version of the name although it does not match either the original description or the Kew Monocot checklist.  I leave the question to the Latin scholars to decide which is correct. 

Monday, February 1, 2010


The third of the pictures I received recently was from a Venezuelan friend Rafael Vaamonde.  Rafael sent an email to a number of people interested in the Catasetinae asking about the identification of one of his Mormodes that had recently bloomed.   Rafael said he had purchased the plant from indians in Ciudad Bolivar, the capital of the south-eastern Venezuelan state of Bolivar.  The inflorecence measured 48 cm.

2 © label   1 © label

The first piece of information I always ask for when identifying a flower is “where does it come from”.   In this case we knew that it came from the Venezuelan state of Bolivar.   So I checked the list I have of  Venezuelan Mormodes and these flowers seemed to match Mormodes carnevaliana Salazar & G. Romero, described rather recently in 1994.   I sent an email requesting some additional information, but before anyone replied, I was forwarded a copy of an email from Dr. German Carnevali, the prominent Venezuela taxonomist which identified the flowers as Mormodes carnevaliana which had been named in his honor.   Alexis Pardo had sent the pictures to Dr. Carnevali and he of course recognized the species named in his honor. 

I checked the most recently issued AQ Plus 3.7 and this species has never been awarded in the AOS system.  This attractive species probably is not in cultivation in the US although it obviously is in Venezuela.  Thanks to Rafael for his permission to include his pictures.