Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sudamerlycaste nana, Beautiful Helen of Troy's Meth-Addicted Sister

[Lyc. 'Sunrise,' New Vision Orchids, Oklahoma City Show, 2010]

Leo Schordje recently gave a talk to the Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City about Lycastes.  I found it thorough and informative but I don't see Lycastes in my future collection.  My collection is going in a smaller, paphy-er, brachty-er, direction, so it speaks well to his talk that he got me to be interested.  Enthusiasm tends to be infectious that way.  Also, it's like Leo predicted my brachtyosis and offered a nice blooming-size bellatulum (Bella Lucia x Triple Trix) on his vendor's table.  And you bet I snatched it up.  Here, I should also note that Schordje also sells fine Phrag. Paph. and Miltoniopsis species and hybrids -- he's not all about Lycastes.

I'm a sucker for fragrance.  I've shown my love for Brassavolas on many occassions and I busy myself at orchid shows by burying my nose in every cattleya that looks promising.  So, a strength of Schordje's talk from my perspective was the multiple references to the ways different species smelled.  He interlaced his narrative with commentary on fertilizing, repotting, and hybridizing trends (e.g. look for more intergeneric hybrids involving Lyc. x Max. in the future).  

As an act of enormous intellectual generosity, Schordje made his notes available for review.  Some of these notes refer to fragrant species, but some of his off-the-cuff comments didn't make it into print.  One of these, coming in the final minutes of the talk, referenced Sudamerlycaste nana (formerly Ida nana).  He said that "This has a powerful scent.  Really powerful, and it's not for everyone.  It's a real industrial scent....  Something only a meth-head could really appreciate."

I took a measure of comfort knowing that I was just given the perfect gift idea for the next occasion we have meth-heads over for an afternoon tea. 


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