February 2011 - Fred Clarke

Fred ClarkeFred ClarkeCatasetum, Cycnoches and Mormodes are three related genera from the Tribe Cymbidieae. Individually, each has been considered an orchid oddity, or “botanical”, of interest mainly to the seriously addicted enthusiast.   These plants have a brief deciduous period in winter, when the plants need a definite dry rest period bordering on neglect. These robust orchids are native to lowland tropical forests in Central and South America and are usually grown in warm or intermediate conditions.


Commercially, Catasetum, Cycnoches (or ‘Swan’ orchids) and Mormodes (or ‘Goblin’ orchids) have occupied a small market niche on the edge of a sea of Cymbidiums, Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, and so on. Until recently, they have not attracted much attention from hybridizers, but in the past several years some spectacular hybrids have been produced, receiving great acclaim and an increasingly large collection of awards from the American Orchid Society.


This talk will feature a widescreen computer slide show on some of the new hybrids and breakthroughs in the hybridization of Catasetum, Cycnoches and Mormodes.  The presenter will be Fred Clarke of Sunset Valley Orchids in Vista.


Fred Clarke has been growing orchids for 30 years and has been hybridizing for 20 of those years. With over 23 years as a professional grower and manager in the horticultural industry, Fred applies these skills at his orchid nursery; Sunset Valley Orchids, located in San Diego, California. 


He is a passionate orchid grower whose curiosity in orchids is broad and varied. Although developing Cattleya hybrids has been his sustaining interest, he is also actively creating new Bulbophylum and Paphiopedilum hybrids plus some others to be named if they work out!


His pioneering work in Catasetum intergeneric hybrids led to the development of several notable hybrids, most recently the grex, Fredclarkeara After Dark, which produced “the blackest flower ever witnessed”.  This grex has received eight FCC’s and four AM’s on the first flowers shown for judging!


Fred is an Accredited Judge in the Pacific South Judging Region. His plants have received hundreds of quality awards from the American Orchid Society.

Wed, 02/02/2011 - 7:00pm