Edward Sprague Rand.

Orchids; a description of the species and varieties grown at Glen Ridge, near Boston, with lists and descriptions of other desirable kinds : preface by chapters on the culture, propagation, collection, and hybridization of orchids; the online

. (page 7 of 25)
Online LibraryEdward Sprague RandOrchids; a description of the species and varieties grown at Glen Ridge, near Boston, with lists and descriptions of other desirable kinds : preface by chapters on the culture, propagation, collection, and hybridization of orchids; the → online text (page 7 of 25)
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We have said that experience has latterly tended to
show that Orchids associate admirably with vines, and
that they may be successfully flowered and a crop of
grapes be grown in the same house. If we consider the
ranges of temperature we have given above for the regu-
lation of a cool Orchid house, we shall see they accord
well with those required in a forcing grapery.

Experiments in England have shown that there are
comparatively few Orchids worth growing, which cannot
be cultivated under vines, and that many of the East
Indian species which have always been kept in the great-
est heat, do well under this regime. There are, however,
some species of Vandas, Aerides, and Phalanopses, which
cannot be so cultivated, though these in summer will 'suc-
ceed in a grapery.


This experiment is certainly worth trying in this coun-
try. Its success is of course questionable, for the inten-
sity and force of our summer's sun is so much greater
than in England, that what may be a success in one
country, may prove a disastrous failure in the other.

There is another advantage resulting' from the dis-
covery of the cool treatment system. It is not imprac-
ticable to grow Orchids in cities where only a very small
space can be given ; the house must be small, and the
temperature need not be high. Both of these conditions
could be realized with but little trouble and expense.
An attic room, or a dark unsightly yard in the city, could
with a very slight outlay be converted into a miniature
Orchid house, and the magnificent Andean Orchids grown
with very little trouble. In London and other Euro-
pean cities this has been successfully done, and there is
no reason why success should not reward experiments of
this kind in our own large cities. Some Orchids have
been successfully grown in the house as parlor plants,
as we shall show in another chapter, and Odontoglossum
grande has even been bloomed in England in the open
air, but as yet we are not very enthusiastic in regard to
parlor gardening with Orchids, the result of all experi-
ments in England showing that the only plant very suc-
cessfully grown in the house was Lycaste Skinneri, which
roots more freely in peat than any other Orchid, although
we have been successful with others.

It only remains to give a list of those Orchids which
experience has shown do well in a cool house.

First, all .the Odontoglossums from New Granada for
the coolest house, those from Mexico and Guatemala
thriving with a little more heat, but doing well in a house


where the temperature is regulated as we have before

The Indian Ccelogynes, particularly the deciduous tribe
of Pleiones which need plenty of water while growing, and
which when well grown flower as freely as a pot of cro-

Lycastes in all the species, but particularly Skinneri,
cruenta, and aromatica.

Maxillaria venusta.

Epidendrum aurantiacum, vitellinum, macrochilum, and

Anguloa Clowesii, Ruckeri, and uniflora.

Barkeria Skinneri and spectabilis.

Dendrobium speciosum.

Phajus albus and grandifolius.

Cypripedium caudatum and most other species.

Uropedium Lindeni.

Disa grandiflora. Masdavilleas in variety.

There are many other Orchids which grow and flower
better with a moderate degree of heat and which do well
in a cool house during the greater part of the year ; such
are Lcelias, Sophronites and many others.

This mode of culture is as yet in its infancy, and we
may reasonably hope that further experiments will show
that Orchid culture, now confined to a few, may before
many years be within the reach of the masses and the
rich flowers of the Lcelias, Odontoglossums, and Cattleyas,
the fragrant blossoms of the Aerides, Dendrobiums, and
StanhopcaS) and the curious blooms of the Catesetums and
Coryanthes be as well known at our horticultural exhibi-
tion as the ever favorite roses, lilies, and violets.



THE word " Orchid " conveys to most minds an idea
of a plant which grows only in great heat, and re-
quires a peculiar mode of culture. To some " Orchid "
is synonymous with air plant ; yet a large portion of Or-
chids are not air plants (epiphytal) and many thrive in a
moderate temperature, and require no peculiar culture.

Some Orchids grow at such elevations that hoar frost
is found upon the leaves, while others are natives of the
hot jungles of the Indian Archipelago.

Formerly, all Orchids were grown in a hot steamy at-
mosphere, that being the treatment which theory recom-
mended. The natural consequence was that many per-
ished under such uncongenial culture.

The past few years have shown that Orchids from cool
regions require cool culture, a temperature somewhat
resembling that of their native haunts. The only wonder
is that horticulturists were thirty years in opening their
eyes to this patent fact.

Experience has also shown that some few of the large
class of cool Orchids can be successfully grown and
bloomed in the parlor.

Many Orchids are remarkable only for their showy
flowers, the foliage being sparse or deciduous. But these


Orchids, adapted to parlor culture, are all from genera
having evergreen leaves, and the foliage of some is orna-

The general rules for potting Orchids are : give plenty
of drainage ; no Orchids thrive in a close, sour soil. Many
require plenty of water, but none thrive in standing water ;
make the soil porous, lumpy, broken, not sifted; give
pure air, and light, and a decided season of rest ; keep
the foliage clean and free from dust, and preserve the
roots from their numerous insect enemies.


A family of some thirty species of terrestrial Orchids
from South America. The leaves are large and plaited,
the flowers borne usually on single scapes, large and very

These plants should be potted in coarse peat and
sphagnum moss with broken potsherds or bits of char-

When growing, they need plenty of water, and even
when at rest should never be allowed to become entirely

L, Skinneri. This beautiful plant is a native of Guate-
mala. The flowers are large, from three to six inches in
diameter sepals and petals white or rose, recurved, lip
varying from pure white to deepest carmine. The growth
is made in summer, the flowers are produced in winter ;
they last six weeks in beauty and many are produced in

Although a close moist atmosphere is best suited to
this plant when in growth, it may be grown in the parlor ;
give plenty of water and light without full sun, the object

1 1 2 ORCHIDS.

being to grow the foliage as large as possible. When
growth is complete, generally by October, reduce the
water and give more sun. Those who have a vinery, can
grow this plant in great perfection; keep them in the
vinery from May to October, in the parlor from October
to May. Figured in Bot. Mag., tab. 4445. Pax. Mag.
n, tab. i.

L. Harrisonia. A showy species which is easily
grown in the parlor. The leaf is large and solitary, the
flowers three inches in diameter, one or two in a spike,
white or yellowish, waxy, lip rich rose, varying to lilac.
This plant blooms constantly at all seasons. Bot. Reg.,
tab. 897.


A large genus of generally cool Orchids. Doubtless
many of these beautiful plants could be grown in the
parlor ; we have, however, had experience with only one.

O. grande. A noble species with dark evergreen foli-
age. Flowers on erect racemes, five inches across, glossy
yellow, beautifully barred with chocolate, produced
freely in autumn and early winter. Pot in sphagnum
moss, coarse peat and charcoal. Treated as prescribed
for Lycaste Skinneri it blooms freely.


A very large genus, inhabiting in some species both
continents, both in the temperate and torrid zones. The
plants are commonly known as Lady's Slipper. We have
in our woods beautiful species and among exotics many
no less attractive.

Our native species, if potted late in the autumn, will
bloom in the window in early spring.


The best species for parlor culture is C. insigne, a noble
plant from Nepaul, foliage narrow, dark green ; flowers
solitary (rarely two), three inches broad, greenish, edged
with white, wings long, purple and yellow. The flowers
are very freely produced from November to February, and
last two months in perfection.

We have now Qanuary, 1876) a plant in the parlor win-
dow with thirty-six flowers, which has been in full beauty
for four weeks. The pot is two feet in diameter, and this
plant has been grown from a single small pot in two years.
This, however, was in the greenhouse, but in the parlor
the growth though slower is no less satisfactory.

Soil, rich peaty loam. This plant should never be
allowed to get dry, and requires very little rest. Grow in
full sunshine.

C. venustum. A pretty species with beautifully varie-
gated foliage, flowers rich brown, green, and chocolate,
but not very showy. Requires the same soil and general
treatment as the last.


A family of terrestrial Orchids of easy culture. The
root stocks should be potted in autumn, and grown with
plenty of sun and water. The flowers are produced in
March on terminal spikes, and though transient are very
pretty. Soil, rich loam. After blooming, the foliage dies
away, and the roots go to rest.

B. hyadnthina. A delicate species with purple flowers,
marked with white, somewhat resembling our wild Calopo~
gon, easily grown.



These plants are tall growers, with large broad ever-
green foliage, and tall scapes of large handsome flowers.
They need a rich soil, plenty of water, and full light, and
sun heat.

P. grandifolius. A native of China ; grows and flowers
well in the parlor. Although an Orchid, it will stand
more hard usage than most plants. The flowers are
white externally, purplish brown inside, lip white and
brown. Blooms freely from January to March. A more
showy plant, both in growth and flower, it would be hard
to find. We have grown plants with forty scapes carrying
more than five hundred flowers.


Pretty terrestrial Orchids of which two species, natives
of shady woods, are very pretty parlor plants.

G. pubescens and repens are not rare plants, but if potted
in rich leaf mould, they are very showy in window culture.
The foliage is green with silver tracery, the flowers white,
in erect spikes. Many rare exotics possess less beauty
than these simple native plants.



AS we have before remarked, very few Orchids have
the power of self-fertilization. This operation is
generally performed by insect agency, and as in our Or-
chid houses insects are seldom found, so we seldom find
Orchids producing seed. The plants that with us have
most frequently seeded are Epidendrum phce?iicium and
aurantiacum, Cattleya Moss ice, Cypripedium barbatum, and
Dendrobiicm chrysanthum ; of these probably the Dendro-
bium was the only one which was self-fertilized. To effect
fertilization, therefore, artificial means must be resorted to,
and any mode of bringing the pollen masses into connec-
tion with the stigma will accomplish the result.

An explanation of terms may be appropriate in this

In all common Orchids the stamen is confluent with
the pistil, the two forming the column ; the stamens carry
the anther, and within the anther is the pollen. The an-
ther is divided into two cells, generally very distinct.

In Orchido the pollen is not, as in other plants, a fine
powder, but the pollen grains adhere in masses.

There are usually in Orchids three united pistils or
female organs of which the upper part has its anterior
surface viscid, which forms the stigma. The two lower
stigmas often are confluent so as to appear as one ; the
stigma of the upper pistil in many Orchids presents no


resemblance to a stigma, and is called the rostellum. It
includes or is formed of viscid matter, and in many Or-
chids the pollen masses are firmly attached to a portion
of the exterior membrane. In the act of fertilization the
stigma is penetrated by long tubes, which grow down
from the pollen grains and carry the contents down to the
ovary, thus impregnating the seeds.

To fertilize the flower we must lift up the end of the
column and bring the pollen masses, with a pair of fine
pincers, on to the pistil ; as soon as the pollen comes into
contact with the stigma, it is drawn into it and the work
is done.

Orchids vary much in the appearance of the organs of
fertilization, but the general process in artificial impregna-
tion is the same. A little practice will soon accustom
one to the operation. As soon as the flower is fertilized
it begins to fade, and the ovary begins to grow. Perhaps
the reason why the flowers of Orchids are so persistent
is that, seldom perfecting seed, the flowers endure in ex-
pectancy of fertilization ; when that is accomplished, the
end of nature, the perpetuation of the species, being at-
tained, the flower fades.

The seed-pods of Orchids mature slowly, and, as far as
our experience has shown, are about a year in coming to

The seed is a fine, almost an impalpable, powder, and
thus requires great care in sowing. It does not germi-
nate readily, often requiring many months. The best
place to sow it is on a potsherd or block on which some
Orchid is growing, or upon a pot of rough peat. Where-
ever it is sown it must never be allowed to get dry. The
plants at first look like a green mould, but soon attain in-


dividuality. As soon as large enough to handle they
shtfuld be pricked off in small pots, but great care must
be used, as they are very delicate.

They will bloom when strong enough, and this depends
much upon the way they are grown ; each succeeding
growth should be stronger than the last ; if so, we know the
plant is in good health and will ultimately bloom. The
process is necessarily slow, and will call for exercise of
patient care. Those who are interested in Orchid fertili-
zation, than which there is nothing more curious in the
vegetable kingdom, should read Darwin's work on the fer-
tilization of Orchids, published by Murray in 1862, but
which has, we believe, been reprinted in this country.

A short quotation relating to the number of seeds pro-
duced by Orchids may not be uninteresting : " The final
end of the whole flower, with all its parts, is the produc-
tion of seed ; and these are produced by Orchids in vast
profusion ; not that this is anything to boast of in the
order, for the production of an almost infinite number of
eggs or seeds is undoubtedly a sign of lowness of organi-
zation. That a plant not an annual should escape de-
struction at some period of its life simply by the produc-
tion of a vast number of seeds or seedlings shows a pov
erty of contrivance or a want of some fitting protection
against some danger. I was curious to estimate the num-
ber of seeds produced by Orchids ; so I took a ripe cap-
sule of Cephalanthera grandiflora, and arranged the seeds
as equally as I could in a narrow hillock on a long ruled
line j and then counted the seeds in a length accurately
measured of one tenth of an inch. They were 80 in
number, and this would give for the whole capsule 6,020
seeds, and for the four capsules borne by the plant 24,000


" Estimating in the same manner the smaller seeds in
Orchis maculata I found the number nearly the same,
namely, 6,200 ; and as I have often seen above thirty cap-
sules on the same plant, the total amount will be 186,300,
a prodigious number for one small plant to bear. As this
Orchid is perennial, and cannot in most places be increas-
ing in number, one seed alone of this large number, once
in every few years, produces a mature plant. I examined
many seeds of the Cephalanthera, and very few seemed

"To give an idea of what the above figures really mean,
I will briefly show the possible rate of increase of O. mac-
ulata : an acre of land would hold 174,240 plants, each
having a space of six inches square, which is rather closer
than they could flourish together; so that, allowing twelve
thousand bad seeds, an acre would be thickly clothed by
the progeny of a single plant. At the same rate of in-
crease the grandchildren would cover a space slightly ex-
ceeding the island of Anglesea, and the great-grandchil-
dren of a single plant would nearly (in the proportion of
47 to 50) clothe with one uniform green carpet the entire
surface of the land throughout the globe. What checks
this unlimited multiplication cannot be told.

" The minute seeds within their light coats are well
fitted for wide dissemination ; and I have several times
observed seedlings in my orchard and in a newly planted
wood which must have come from some little distance.

" Yet it is notorious that Orchids are sparingly distrib-
uted; for instance, this district is highly favorable to the
order, for within a mile of my house nine genera, includ-
ing thirteen species, grow ; but of these only one, Orchis
mario, is sufficiently abundant to make a conspicuous fea-


ture in vegetation ; as is O. maculata in a lesser degree
in open woodlands. Most of the other species, though
not deserving to be called rare, are sparingly distributed ;
yet if their seeds or seedlings were not largely and habit-
ually destroyed, any one of them would, as we have just
seen, immediately cover the whole land."

Any of us who has received Orchids collected on their
native habitats will have noticed the remains of old seed-
pods, and thus we must conclude that in their wild state
tropical Orchids seed profusely.

The varieties obtained by collectors lead us to believe
that hybridization is often effected by insect agency, and
that many of the plants we receive are natural hybrids.
This has been strikingly shown in the flowering of a large
lot of imported Phaltznopses in England recently, in which
the three species, aurea grandiflora, amabilis, and Schiller-
iana seem to be strangely mixed up.

In artificial hybridization, care should be taken to cross
those species which, for beauty or novelty of flower, would
be likely to give the best results. Although by seedlings
from one species we may chance to get variations, yet the
chance is rendered almost a certainty if we choose dif-
ferent species.

Seedlings may wholly resemble one parent, may have
points common to both, or may be exactly intermediate.
Cypripedium Harrisianum, a cross between C. villosum
and barbatum, has the long 'foliage of the former, but
spotted like the latter ; in fact, both in foliage and flower,
is almost exactly intermediate. Calanthe Veitchii, a hybrid
between Calanthe vestita and Limatodes rosea, shows marks
of each parent, but is superior to both in every good


It is a noticeable fact that these hybrids in some cases
hybridize freely again ; thus Cattleya exoniensis, itself a
hybrid between C. Mossice and Lcelia purpurata, is the
male parent of the new and beautiful Cattleya Fausta.

The first to raise hybrid Orchids in England was Mr.
Dominy, foreman in Mr. Veitch's nursery, and it is from
this establishment that most of the hybrids already in-
troduced have been disseminated ; these are mostly Cat-
tleyas and Cypripediums, but the wonderful results obtained
have led many to make experiments, and the next few
years will doubtless give us hundreds of hybrid Orchids.

Hybridization has already made a complete collection
of any genus an impossibility. We do not know of any
hybrid Orchids having been produced in this country ; but
with the possibilities and many fine collections we see no
reason why great results may not be attained.

The following is a list of the hybrid Orchids raised by
Messrs Veitch :

Cattleya exoniensis, from C. Mossicz and Lalia purpurata.
Cattleya Dominiana, from C. amethystina and C. maxima.
Cattleya Dominiana alba, from C. amethystina and C.

Cattleya Dominiana lutea, from C. amethystina and C.

Cattleya Dominiana hybrida, from C. granulosa and C.


Cattleya Sidneana, from C. crispa and C. granulosa.
Cattleya Brabanticz, from C. Loddigesii and C. Acklandice.
Cattleya quinquecolor, from C. Acklandice. and C. Forbesii*
Cattleya Devoniensis, from C. crispa and C. guttata.
Cattleya Manglesii, from C. Mossice. and C. Loddigesii.
Cattleya Veitchii, from C. crispa and C. labiata.


Cattkya hybrida maculata, from C. guttata and C. interme-

Cattleya Fausta, from C. Loddigesii and C. exoniensis.

Cypripedium Dominii, from C. Pearcii and C. caudatum.

Cypripedium Euryandrum, from C. Stonei and C. barba-

Cypripedium Harrisianum, from C. barbatum and C. vil-
la su?n.

Cypripedium vexillarium, from C. barbatum and C Far-

Cypripedium Sedeni, from C. Schlimi and C. longifolium.

Cypripedium Marshallianum, from C concolor and (7. venus-
tum pardinum.

Cypripedium Arthurianum, from C. Farrieanum and C.

Cypripedium selligerum, from C. l&vigatum and C. barba-

Cypripedium hybridum, from (7. Stonei and C barbatum.

Cypripedium tessellatum, from C. concolor and C barbatum.

Calanthe Veitchii, from C vestita and Limatodes rosea.

Calanthe Dominii, from C Masuca and C furcata.

Phajus irroratus, from P. grandifolius and Calanthe

Anactochilus Dominii, from ^. xanthophyllus and <S^0</-
jymz discolor.

Goodyera Veitchii, from . discolor and Anczctochilus

Goodyera Dominii, from Antzctochilus Lowii and Goodyera

Aerides hybridum, from ^4. d$fr^ and ^. Fieldingi.

Lcelia Pilcheri, from Z. Perrini and Cattleya crispa.

Lalia Pilcheri alba, from Z. Perrini and Cattleya crispa.


Lalia flammea, from L. dnnabarina and L. Pilcheri.
.Dendrobium Dominii, from D. nobile and D. moniliforme.
Zygopetahim Sedeni, from Z. maxillare and Z. Mackayi.
Chysis Chelsoni, from C. bractescens and C. Limminghi.

There are many other hybrids which have already been
exhibited in England, but we have been unable to obtain
trustworthy accounts of their parentage. We have how-
ever seen a fine seedling from Cypripedium insigne, named
C. Chanting of French origin ; it has the vigor of the
parent, but the banner is almost pure white from a purple
base, making it a remarkably beautiful flower.




WE have in a former chapter referred to the length
of time the flowers of Orchids remain in perfec-
tion. This quality admirably fits them for house decora-
tion. It might be inferred, from the atmosphere neces-
sary for their growth, that Orchids would suffer when
removed to the far dryer air of the parlor, but such for-
tunately is not the case.

Most Orchids bloom when the growth is complete or
just beginning, when in fact there is no immature growth,
the pseudo-bulbs having become hard, or the growing bud
being so young that a check does it no injury, so that a
change of temperature is seldom injurious to the plant.

When kept in the close atmosphere of the Orchid
house, the flowers of Orchids are short-lived compared
with their duration when removed to a cooler and dryer
air. Moisture in the air is injurious to most Orchid
flowers, causing them soon to become spotted and un-
sightly. It is therefore the practice of all Orchid growers
to remove Orchids in bloom to a cooler and dryer atmos-
phere, and manyfchave an exhibition house where the
Orchids are arranged with ferns, which supply the want
of foliage in many of the species, and present a beautiful

Plants in flower add much to the attractions of the hall
and parlor, and it is as easy to have choice exotics as a


mass of common plants. A very small Orchid house, if
stocked with reference to a succession of bloom, will fur-
nish plants in bloom sufficient to fill a table with choice
flowering plants every day in the year. Some regard
must be paid, how r ever, to growing plants of which the
flowers last long in perfection, and in this there is a great
difference in Orchids.

The blossoms of some are almost ephemeral, and
many are only of a few days duration. The many species
of Stanhopea, than which no Orchids produce more curious
or fragrant flowers, last only in perfection three or four

Online LibraryEdward Sprague RandOrchids; a description of the species and varieties grown at Glen Ridge, near Boston, with lists and descriptions of other desirable kinds : preface by chapters on the culture, propagation, collection, and hybridization of orchids; the → online text (page 7 of 25)