Carson Whitlow – “The World of Cypripediums”

Next Meeting: Monday, October 8th, 2018

Photo of Cypripedium parviflorum, North American slipper orchid species. ©Phil Matt
Cypripedium parviflorum, North American slipper orchid species. Photo ©Phil Matt

There are over 40 Cypripedium (“slipper orchid”) species in the world. Carson’s presentation covers most of those in North/Central America plus many of those from the rest of the world. Also shown are some of the hybrids which have been produced. Carson became interested in orchids when he was a sophomore in college. After graduating he went to Santa Ana, California to work for the prestigious orchid firm of B. O. Bracey and Company. A year later, he changed his direction and entered upon a career in government service, until he retired in 2005.

After leaving the Bracey firm, Carson established his own collection, mostly of blue Cattleyas, with which he undertook hybridizing in association with Fred A. Stewart, Orchids, in San Gabriel, California. From 1964 thru 1969, he produced in excess of 60 blue cattleya hybrids, many of which are still in collections, arising from the original seedlings or as mericlones. Many are used as basic parents in today’s blue Cattleya breeding.

In 1973, with his move to central Iowa, Carson took a distinct change in direction, working with the hardy terrestrial orchids, primarily the Cypripediums and Calopogons. His worked resulted in the first registered artificial hybrids of Cypripedium in 1987 and Calopogon in 1991. He continued to hybridize these genera and built a small business, Cyp. Haven, as retail outlet for his work. His business closed in 2009. However, he does continue to hybridize blue cattleyas and white paphs and provides the seed to other growers to offer. His hybrid work is recognized throughout the world; he has published over 30 articles in U.S. and European journals.

Orchids 101 – Monday Oct. 8th, 2018

Topic: “TBA” The Beginners’ Meeting will start at 6:00 p.m. in the Yiddish Center Room at the JCC.

Map to the JCC