OSGKC November 2012 Meeting Features Speaker on Orchid Fragrances

[The following was submitted by Susie Hanna, Co-Chair for OSGKC Programs.]

When we set up the displays at the Hilton Garden Inn for the Mid-America Show recently, I heard many people remarking about the fragrances.  The entire room was a sweet blend of scents. The more we jostled the plants around, the greater the aromatherapy.   At our November 11 meeting, Dr. Harold Hills, will be explaining a few things about the mystery of orchid fragrances. Better known as Hal Hills, he received his PhD from University of Miami.  He is now retired from the University of Massachusetts where he worked in cell biology.  Some of Hal’s publications have been on orchid fragrances and fragrance cycles. His dissertation was titled “Fragrance Analysis in Chemotaxonomy of the Genus Catasetum (Orchidaceae).”  Hal is a member of the AOS, Orchid Disgest, and is an ribbon judge for the two local societies he attends in Massachuesetts and New Hampshire.

Here’s just a snippet from his presentation which is on orchid fragrances, not fragrant orchids:

Orchids Day and Night: Do they Smell the Same?

“I am sure many of you have had the experience of smelling one of your favorite orchid flowers and were so delighted with the fragrance that you called a friend to come and smell the flowers.  Your friend arrives many hours later, smells the flower and says oh yes, that smells just like something completely different.  You smell the flowers again and say well this morning it smelled just like….The trouble is you are probably both correct.  I had the opportunity to work on the daily changes in orchid fragrances for almost three years.  What we were interested in were the questions:  Do orchids produce different fragrances at different times of day or on different days during the life of the inflorescence.  Does the quantity of fragrance vary from one time of day to another?  In other words does the composition of the fragrance vary both in quantity of fragrance material produced and does the chemical composition of the fragrance change.  For instance do orchid produce most of their fragrance in the morning or is it in the afternoon or night..  You can understand how this might affect orchid fragrance judging.”

Please join us Sunday, Nov. 11, with the beginner’s group at 1:00 p.m., and the regular meeting at 2:00 p.m. Mark and Joy Prout will have a wrap-up talk about the Mid-America Show we just completed.  We will be meeting in the Cafe at the Broadway Methodist Church, 406 W. 74th Street, KC, MO.  Plans for the December holiday party will be announced as well. Hope to see you all there!

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