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Orchids are the most spectacular, beautiful and intriguing of all flowers. Some 30,000 species are known from all continents excepting Antarctica. More than forty species have been identified in the National Capital Region. Protection of their wild environment is of vital importance. The Society and individual members are actively involved in conservation activities.

Hobbyists are primarily interested in showy tropical orchids including Cattleya, Cymbidium, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis. There are thousands of hybrids, with new ones being produced annually. Many of these hybrids combine the best features of their parents, allowing growers to produce larger, more perfect flowers in a wide range of colours. Hybrids are often easier to grow than species and will thrive in a variety of growing conditions. Please click here for information on growing orchids.

Plants are readily available and reasonably priced. They may be raised on a windowsill, under artificial lights, in a solarium or a greenhouse. In past years, orchid growing was often difficult and frustrating. Due to cost and the required expertise, it was restricted to only a few. Today, there are orchids for everyone, to suit their budget and growing conditions.

The OOS offers a stimulating and friendly environment for those who are fascinated by the world of orchids. Members derive special satisfaction from sharing their experiences and working together to improve not only their orchid collections, but also their knowledge and appreciation of these wonderful plants. We are fortunate in Ottawa to have a rich source of experienced and knowledgeable individuals who are available to provide advice and guidance.

Cypripedium parviflorum

Spiranthes cernua

Even though many of the most popular and showy orchids are tropical in origin, there are also many orchid species that grow in temperate areas, even surviving through the harsh winters in the Ottawa area. Please click here for more information.

These photographs show two local terrestrial orchids which grow in the Ottawa region. Cypripedium parviflorum (yellow lady’s slipper) can be found in areas rich in  limestone. Spiranthes cernua (autumn lady’s tresses) grows in wet areas, usually in open sun.

Note the yellow crab spider (misumena vatia) feeding on the bee in the left-hand photo, disguised as part of the orchid flower.

Photos: Dave Cooper