Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Can Epiphytes Help Reduce Climate Change?

Reply to comment on The last uninvaded frontier?


Derrick, the other day I tried to imagine how much carbon dioxide would be absorbed if every Phalaenopsis ended up on a tree rather than in the trash when it finished blooming.  Unfortunately, even if the interest was there...the commonly available Phalaenopsis hybrids can't grow outside in places like California.  On the other hand, pretty much every New Zealand epiphytic orchid can grow outdoors somewhere in California.  If the cold tolerance of mass produced orchids could be improved...and many of them ended up on trees...then perhaps climate change could be reduced.

Right now I have four seed pods developing on my Neofinetia falcata hybrid that's growing on my Ficus macrophylla bonsai.  The pollen came from two Phalaenopsis hybrids and one species.  I'm hoping that the cross will have the best of both worlds...large, colorful flowers and temperature tolerance.

New Zealand has two epiphytic monopodial orchids that I know of...

Drymoanthus adversus
Drymoanthus flavus

Are they more cold tolerant than Neofinetia falcata?  I don't know.  I don't know anybody outside of New Zealand that grows them...or any other native NZ orchid for that matter.  For all I know they could be the key to reducing climate change.


Anybody know approximately how many Phalaenopsis are produced each year?  In terms of carbon dioxide absorption...would it be the equivalent of say 1,000 acres of rainforest?

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