The Alabama Orchid Society will host their 33rd American Orchid Society sanctioned Show and Sale at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham, AL. For more information contact Dr. Beverly A. Van Der Pool, 205-821-0689; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darwin’s book ‘On the Origin of Species’ shook the scientific world and far beyond. Yet it was his next book, devoted entirely to orchids, which filled in gaps and firmed up his revolutionary ideas. Orchids have an ethereal beauty, whether growing hundreds of feet up in a misty rainforest or along the verges of busy suburban roads. But their exotic flowers are shaped for just one purpose – to draw in pollinators. Many use sex as a lure, by impersonating a female bee or wasp. Orchids produce thousands of seeds, which are so small that they contain no food reserves. They can only germinate with the help of specific fungi in the soil. In the past, this made orchids hard to grow from seed, a problem now solved by hi-tech labs. This means that some of the rarest can be re-introduced to old haunts. These projects are carried out in such secrecy, it’s like something from a spy movie.