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Our Mission is to serve an educational function in providing the general public with botanical and horticultural information on the genus Encyclia and other orchidaceae that have once been classified as Encyclia, in order to promote the cultivation, propagation, conservation, hybridization and exhibition of these orchids both ex and in situ.

An  Affiliate Organization of the American Orchid Society

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New Orchid Population Study Initiated on Saba, N.A.

In late December 2002, EE President Stewart Chipka began a new orchid study on the island of Saba in the Netherlands Antilles.  Intended to be a prolonged population study and observation of growth cycles, the project is expected to take at least three years to complete.  Data compiled during the study will be provided to the Saba Conservation Foundation to support its efforts in expanding awareness of the island�s variety of tropical flora.

Nine species representing three genera were located in the initial survey, which lasted several weeks. Using GPS locating, these orchids are being compiled onto topographic maps for future study;  as more species are located during further field work, they will be added. This will aid Saba Conservation Foundation in evaluating trail locations for visitor observation of the indigenous and naturalized orchid populations. 

A particularly large population of Epidendrum ciliare, in three forms, was discovered. The typical white flower was found at lower elevations of 800 to 1000 feet. At slightly higher elevations a color change occurred, as the plant population there displayed the conventional white lip with yellow to light green sepals and petals. 

A unique color form showing a copper coloration with medium-gold throat was found at the highest elevations.  Could this be a new variety of Epi. ciliare, or is it a result of iron rich deposits in the rock substrate on which the plants were growing?  Further analysis will be conducted to help decide this question. 
Epidendrum ciliare, copper form

Additional species of Epidendrum located were nocturnum, piliferum, paniculatum, and anceps.  Polystachia foliosa, Octomeria grandiflora, and a small population of Phaius tankervilleae were also found.  In future studies it is expected that populations of Bletia, Encyclia and Psychilis will be located as they come into bloom. Possible Encyclia candidates include altissima, bradfordii, caicensis and inaguensis, among the other more common Caribbean native Encyclias.

The study will continue this year as the blooming season progresses. Stewart�s next trip to the island will be May 19 to 25, following the Redlands Festival. Any members who are interested in assisting in this study are welcome to contact Stewart via Encyclia Enthusiasts e-mail:   schipka@encyclias.org.  

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Last modified: August 11, 2004

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