Friday, April 20, 2007

Orchid (Cataetum galeritum)

This orchid came from the Tapajós National Forest about five years ago. At that time I was active in the Santarém Orchid Society and there were occasions when our club members were given permission by IBAMA to collect orchid specimens from the leftover debris of trees, those which had been earmarked for the "select cut" program. This is a multinational project, in part financed by the U.S. Forestry Service, to demonstrate how to harvest trees without destroying the forest. Our rescue teams were normally made up of 8-10 club members. We would spend 3-4 hours combing the cut areas for the orchids and then meet as a group to classify and divide them up for our collections. I had joined the club for the purpose of learning something about orchids but I have to admit that my attendance at club meetings was sporadic and I never learned much about the complexity of classifying these plants. Since I didn't have a an orchid house at the Bosque, I chose to place them in the trees, which I thought was their natural setting. More recently I decided to move the survivors (around a dozen individuals) to vases on the front porch of the reception center. It's much easier to look after them in this environment. The biggest problem with having them in the trees was that of dust from the dirt road during the dry season. I'm not sure how anything survives this situation. Bernadette Serique from the Orchid Society gave me the name of this orchid for the second time. It's Catasetum galeritum. Thanks again Bernadette!

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