Our speaker for March is Roger Cole. Roger has grown orchids for nearly 50 years and been an AOS judge for over 35 years. He is a former chair of the National Capital Judging Center. Roger is a partner in Orchids Dominicana in the Dominican Republic and breeds Cattleyas for them, mostly. He has bred over 25 grex which have gotten AOS awards.
Roger’s presentation is titled: Understanding Today’s Equitants. He indicates that this presentation is far more of an easy to follow primer than the article written for the July issue of Orchids.
Roger will be bringing plants for sale.
A quick primer on Tolumnia, what was once known as “equitant oncidiums”. The foliage seldom exceeds 6 to 8 inches in height, and a 4-inch pot can house a “specimen” plant. The leaves are arranged in pairs overlapping or straddling one another at the base. Flowers are produced primarily in the spring on 12- to 18-inch inflorescences that are often branched on older plants.
Today’s hybrids offer an astounding array of colors and patterns not seen in the species. Their petite size and ability to adapt to a fairly wide range of conditions make them suitable for growing spaces under lights or on windowsills. The key to growing Tolumnias is understanding their natural habitat. The species are endemic to the Caribbean Basin with many confined to a single island. Most of the species involved in modern hybrids are found in intermediate to warm conditions growing on twigs where they are exposed to bright light and air movement. Moisture is provided by high humidity and by daily rain showers or heavy dews. Due to constant air movement by the trade winds, plants never remain wet for long.