This month we welcomed as our speaker SaulWalker from R.H.S. Wisley who introduced us to the
orchids of northern Queensland, Australia. Saul visited the area between Brisbane and Cape York
while a student on the Kew diploma course to study the orchid population of the Queensland
rainforest. Before his visit the low coastal forest of Melaleuca trees and mangroves had been hit by typhoon Yasi with quite devastating effect.
Working with staff from the Edmund Kennedy Conservation Park Saul surveyed the Dendrobium
population of the area. Species found included Dend. Lindleyii and Dend. canaliculatum, an
attractive plant with yellow flowers with a red labellum. Other orchids from the area included
Dend. Discolor and Cymbidium canaliculatum, the Banana or Queensland black orchid, and
We were then taken to the conservation area of Magnetic Island situated of the coast of Townsville near Cairns that is home to Nervilia holochila a terrestial orchid endemic to the island. The final part of Saul’s talk focussed on the Fletcher Botanic Gardens at Cairns where the plants illustratedincluded the Pencil Orchid,Dend.teretifolium, Dend.smilliae, Vappodes biggibum and
Cym.maddidum the Buttercup orchid.
It was a fascinating talk on an area that we as growers tend to forget as a rich source of genera andspecies.