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Calypso orchids and an old Redwood giant

Here is a photograph of another happy colony of Calypso orchids growing in the shade of a large redwood. This dappled light only lasted a couple of hours midday.

 

Translation for 140 languages by ALS
 

Calypso bulbosa Orchid-The Links and Frequently Asked Questions Page


 

First I would like to repay a debt of gratitude to the friendly people I have found on the web. I have been inspired and urged to continue this work by these folks and often given a key bit of information to guide me in the quest for the conservation and propagation of this so-far mysterious orchid. There are two ways to go....cooperate or compete. The following links represent those sites that have chosen the cooperative model and are running their businesses with the well being of the planet at heart. While most of these sites are specifically about orchids I have included a few I just think are way too much fun not to mention and others that make a point that I currently agree with.

This page is also a place for me to just ramble and I intend to do that. Some of you may have seen some of these links on my blog. I think they are important enough to list here as well..

A valuable source of information and guidance for me has been Aaron Hicks of the Orchid Seedbank Project in Arizona, serving orchid lovers world wide with hundreds of pages of information mostly having to do with the area in which I am most lacking-in vitro experience.

"http://members.cox.net/ahicks51/osp/"


Calypso bulbosa Orchid questions and answers.

Q. Are these orchids fragrant?

A. Yes they are.

Q. How long is the seed good for?

A. Seed is always best fresh and declines each year in viability. I are guessing six years with good storage and then expect a 50% viability with a ten percent reduction each succeeding year. In reality the seed may be good for twenty years, no one really knows with Calypso in nature.

Q. Would you like to trade seed?

A. Sorry, I only work with Calypso.


V. wrote-

Hello, This is interesting. I am wondering about your concept of source
verified. Do you own the property where all this seed is collected? Have you
checked the CITES rules as they pertain to your commercial venture?
I am very interested in the growing of this plant and have been unable to
get the seed to germinate using the normal flasking methods. How much
success have you had getting these little plants to actually germinate and
grow? V.

Calypsogrower answered:

Hello V.
Great questions and thanks for the interest! I am going to try and give concise answers but please forgive me if I ramble on, it has happened....

Yes, I own the property. I live here year round.

Yes, I have been all over CITES, even with my slow dial up. I have found no conflicts with their rules and my production. In fact I have been active on many forums and subjecting all the details of my process to anonymous scrutiny. I haven't had any bad press, yet. I am amazed by the amount of support and praise I have received. When I started this dream I imagined myself selling bulbs. My guide, Kalypso, shipwrecked that plan and insisted I make and disperse seed. Just the way nature would do it only she and I make use of the postal service and receive a few ducats to continue the work.

Now, the last question...I can't claim any success growing Calypso in nature, even by the methods I am suggesting in my sowing instructions sent with each order! At this time this whole venture for me and my customers is a leap of faith. I have test beds and the first of these may show me some growth this winter 2006-2007. My whole method is based on what I see in nature. I do keep the clean dry seed in the refrigerator for three months or more before I sow. I just feel that is the right thing to do.

I have been a gardener all my life, home, work, farmer's markets. I have worked extensively with perennials from seed for my cut flower business. I am bringing a lifetime of experience and attempts at good stewardship to this project. I appreciate your concern for the integrity of the words "source verified" and I hope you continue to investigate all claims. It is a fact, people lie to make a buck! I have come face to face with this more than once with Calypso and I hope I have done some good and helped to educate people on the subject of Calypso and her requirements. One of which is do not disturb!

Regarding our in vitro work, there have been some good discussions of this on the terrestrial orchid forum at

The Terrestrial Orchid Forum


Have you checked them out? I do know that Calypso needs cool darkness, at about 20C or 60F in order to germinate in vitro or in nature.


This next question is a very frequent one...

Can you send me the fungus?

Calypsogrower says-

I am going to suggest a website for you to browse. It is possible that these fungus are some of the largest beings on the planet. What you are asking could be tantamount to sending you a tiny piece of skin when you asked for a whole human, able to reproduce. The fact is we don't know squat about fungus and they are the absolute building blocks of life on this planet. The large visible molds in my blog pictures are mold rotting fungus and visible to the eye.

I think what it comes down to is finding leaves and leaf mold and soil from under trees that are known to grow Calypso, a grove you can get to of older happy chemical free trees. The fungus will be there. I have no way of proving this to you but if the fungus weren't there the trees would be dead or dying.

There are many different fungi that will act as the symbiont for the orchid seed. The fungi in an area are also symbiotic with other fungi in the area and those are also compatible with your forest type. My fungus from the redwood forest, assuming I could isolate it, might get a lethal reception from the already present and in balance fungi in your forest of Calypso supporting trees. I am serious, they would probably attack and eat it!


Here is the link to the site I promised. I hope it reassures you that fungus is still an emerging science.  Calypso is a world traveler and knows how to choose the right symbiont from among all the naturally occurring fungus in your area. There are many fungi capable of helping germinate the Calypso bulbosa orchid seed.



The fungi here in the forest that help the seed are invisible to the naked eye. I cannot, for good reason, send soil or soil products to anyone outside of California without sterilization. I believe sterilization will kill the fungus. There are forests and fungi all around the northern temperate zones that will contain the appropriate symbiont for Calypso.

Hope this helps, Calypsogrower


Can I buy a plant?

Calypsogrower responded:

Hello A., Please don't try to buy a mature plant. There are no plants on the market that are raised from seed. They are all dug from the wild and I hope you don't support that activity because the bulb will struggle along on it's reserves for awhile and then die. This orchid has a mysterious pattern of growth and development that a whole lot of people are trying to figure out. Seeds are the way to go with this one for now. I don't say it is difficult to grow them, it takes a lot of patience and waiting, and hope! Please check out my blog. Thanks for your interest, I am here if you need anything. Calypsogrower

A. wrote back to the above: Hi, thank you anyway for answering. Somehow I expected this answer. It´s a pity because Calypso is a really wonderful plant. But to raise an orchid from seeds is very difficult, so I see no chance to grow one without getting a mature plant. Thank you again Greetings A.


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