Saturday, August 6, 2011

Muttart Conservatory and the Orchid Species Preservation Foundation

While in Edmonton in July we went via an invitation from a friend to Muttart Conservatory.  We went, however, not to see the public buildings, but to see the work of the Orchid Species Preservation Foundation.  This group works behind the scenes at Muttart, using the Conservatory's facilities, but paying its own way.

Masdevallia ignea

The group has a very large and varied collection of mostly orchid species that have been donated by various individuals.  These collections are maintained by the group which operates primarily with volunteer help.  It uses three areas of Muttart's greenhouses to house a warm, an intermediate and a cool collection.

Masdevallia rimarima var. alba

Dracula hybrid

Masdevallia pinocchio

On the day we visited the group was having a repotting session.  If I had been alone I would have enjoyed staying to help, but was with my wife, daughter and baby granddaughter, and did not dare offer.  We did have opportunity to see and photograph the collection, however, and enjoyed the time spent there.

Sobralia candida

Sobralia species

All too often when a person for one reason or another is unable to maintain a collection of orchids, the plants die or at best are dispersed.  This kind of foundation provides a nice alternative and plants that are duplicated or not needed in the collection are sold to raise funds for the group.

Rhynchostele cordata

Meiracyllium trinasutum

Bulbophyllum lobbii

Vanda hybrid

Stanhopea gibbosa

The group will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in October with meetings, special displays in the conservatory, speakers and other events.  We hope they do well and wish them the best in their efforts.  More such organizations are needed in the world of orchids.

We did go through the Conservatory itself, but were a bit disappointed - the collection of plants, though well maintained and beautifully presented was neither very large nor very unusual.  In fact, many of the plants were common annuals or perennials.


  1. Great organization, Ron, and great photos, as always.

    Couple of misidentifications. That is not Stanhopea ecornuta. Checking my library it looks like Stanhopea gibbosa. The Vanda species is a complex hybrid.

  2. Taking another pass at IDing things - the Sobralia is not Sobralia macrantha. S. macrantha is a big floufy, gaudy thing. The Dracula isn't D. severa - it looks like a hybrid with D. vampira, but Gary Meyer should be able to tell you more.

  3. Wow! Thanks for the corrections, Eric. I'll have to pass them on since, the mis-identifications came from them. They are really doing a great job, though, and the wonderful thing is that they are taking people's collections when people are unable to care for them any more and keeping them going. So many plants are lost when the owners can't deal with them any more, and that's especially tragic with species.

  4. Eric,

    They are looking for speakers for their 20th anniversary celebration in October. Perhaps you'd be interested!?


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