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September - October 2007

Orchids: from the Jungles to our Back Yards - 2007 Kauai Farm Bureau Fair

By Ada Koene Reprinted from the Garden Island August 19, 2007

The Garden Island Orchid Society has chosen this name for its theme this year to emphasize the origins of the orchids grown in Hawaii for they come primarily from tropical rain forests where they spread their roots in the trees and rock crevices and receive their nourishment from nature. It is quite surprising that while Hawaii’s gentle climate is conducive to growing orchids, because of its isolation it is home to only three small endemic species.

The forefathers of the orchid that you find in Hawaii’s back yard gardens and greenhouses today initially were brought in by seamen and plantation owners traveling to or through Hawaii from Australia and Southeast Asia starting in the mid-1800s. Vandas, Phalaenopsis, and Dendrobiums did exceptionally well in Hawaii and today are very popular due partly to the fact that flower vendors found that the Vandas and Dendrobiums are especially well-suited for the making of leis. Phaleanopsis are loved because of their pretty faces.

However, orchids grown on Kauai are now not limited to these species. Thanks in part to FedEx, DHL and other courier services and spurred on by internet postings, the dissemination of new species of orchids from other areas such as South America is increasing at an impressive rate. As a result at the County Farm Bureau Fair this year, you will almost certainly see new species and hybrids. You might even see some miniature flowering plants where their orchid blooms almost need to be viewed with a magnifying glass while other plants might be taller than the average man. It depends, of course, on what is in season. Remember, however, that the orchid family or Orchidaceae boasts over 35,000 species, divided over 800 genera so we still have a long way to go. These figures, by the way, do not even include the 120,000 hybrids that have been created over the past 50 years.

HCC/AOS Best Pink Phalaenopsis 2007 Spring Fantasy - Dtps. Hsinying Leopard x Phal. Hsinying Venture – Owner David Neifert

If you want to learn more about orchids, come join one of the two orchid clubs on the island. The Garden Island Orchid Society covers South and West Shores while the Kauai Orchid Society covers the North and East Shores. Based in Hanapepe, the Garden Island Orchid Society meets six times a year. The meetings and the Spring Fantasy Show are usually held at the United Church of Christ in Hanapepe. Speakers at the bi-monthly meetings might include orchidists from as far as Florida and Taiwan but often include our local experts from the other islands and some from right here on Kauai. Some of the meetings consist of hands-on workshops where members are taught such basics as potting and staking. In addition to the bi-monthly meetings, members also arrange for local tours to the various gardens and growers.

Kauai Farm Bureau Fair 2007 - Putting on the Show

Show Chairs Anne Notley and Carol Yasutake congratulating each other for a job well done.

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