Past Programs


  Francisco Miranda!

Francisco Miranda of Miranda Orchids took time out of his busy schedule to speak to Orchid Society of the Ozarks members on Brazilian Laelia species.

Eminently qualified on this topic, Mr. Miranda just recently spoke at the AOS Members meeting in Bloomington, MN in late April 2005, and we are very fortunate to have him!

Over the past twenty years, Mr. Miranda has grown and line-bred many Brazilian orchid species, and he has written two books on the orchids of the Brazilian Amazon region and the orchids of central Brazil. He was the Program Chairman for the 15th World Orchid Conference in Rio de Janeiro, and, since 2001, a qualified Taxonomic Authority for the American Orchid Society specializing in the determination of Brazilian species.

With a Master's Degree in Botany and over twenty years of taxonomic research under his belt, Francisco has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals in the United States, Germany, and Brazil, and he continues his work from his North American home base in Florida, from which he also runs Miranda Orchids, a nursery specializing in the orchids of Brazil.

After outlining the general geographic areas where Brazilian Laelias are found, Mr. Miranda took OSO members on a slide tour of the eastern Brazillian coast, where the majority of the plants actually grow. Never venturing further than 350 miles inland (where the South American continent turns to desert), Mr. Miranda presented members with a visual treat of his hikes, climbs, and explorations, giving details of various local growing conditions and the growth habits of the species he encountered along the way. Throughout, Mr. Miranda intermixed his descriptions of environment with the hybridizing goals he is trying to achieve.

Because the eastern coast of Brazil is nestled in the tropics, seasonality is not determined by day-length or temperature, but rather by rainfall. Blooming seasons are therefore triggered by the amount of rain. Of particular interest to those growers of rupicolous Laelias, Mr. Miranda noted that the majority of these plants grew on a bedrock of iron ore at 3000-6000 ft elevations--literally, in the clouds. Cloud cover at night provided an environment of extreme humidity (the high dewpoint causing moisture to condense out of the atmosphere and literally wash the plants with water), while daytime conditions proved exactly the opposite, hot and extremely bright and dry, the mostly bare cliff faces encouraging extremes of air movement.

"As orchid growers, we have been told to always water early in the day so that the plants can dry off by nightfall," Mr. Miranda said. "But these are contrary. To do their best, these species should be watered in the evening!"

Growing tips such as these along with the wealth of information presented combined to make Mr. Miranda's presentation a delightfully thought-provoking and intriguing program!