CA2FLxplant, you don't miss Van Nuys? hehe. How much better could central Florida really be?
Actually I sometimes dream about moving to the Southernmost part of Texas. It's almost tropical there. I'd like to buy a bunch of acres and start an orchid reserve dedicated to the conservation and proliferation of CAM epiphytic orchids. I'd attach a gazillion orchids to the trees and let nature select for the most drought/temperature tolerant individuals. The goal would be to try and move the fittest individuals across the country via reasonably sized "steps".
Here in California it's too big of a leap for epiphytic orchids to naturalize. All epiphytic orchids are summer growers... but here they'd have to adapt to being winter growers. Plus, it's a numbers game...the more seeds you throw at nature the more progress can be made. And I just don't have enough trees here to throw seeds at. It's not like I can walk around the neighborhood sowing orchid seeds on street trees. Well...I could...but then I'd probably have to explain to people why I was watering their trees.
Florida could work pretty well but Texas is nice because it's centrally located. Plus, ideally, there would be a satellite location a few hours drive across the border into Mexico. This would help function as "insurance". Kind of like an external hard drive to back up important files (orchids). If the main computer (Texas reserve) crashed (500 year freeze) then the most important files (orchids) could be easily restored.
Eventually every botanical garden in the US would have orchids growing on their trees! I think there's a chance that it might happen anyways...but I'd prefer if it happened sooner rather than later.
I didn't buy those flasks! Did you? Unfortunately the same flask
is available again for the same way too reasonable price!
Please let me know if you decide to cross everything with E. tampensis and sow the seeds on every tree. I'd love to hear all about it. I'm really curious how readily the seeds of E. tampensis (both the species and its hybrids) germinate on trees in Florida. If they don't readily germinate...then it's either because the precipitation/temperature wasn't adequate...or the necessary fungus wasn't present. The absence of the necessary fungus would definitely be a problem. The solution would be to try and proliferate the fungus by attaching inoculated orchids to trees. I'm under the impression that orchid roots help the fungus colonize a tree. The more a fungus has colonized a tree...the more likely it is that the spores will land on adjacent trees. I have no idea how many orchids would have to be attached to trees in order for the virtuous cycle to be "jump-started". But you're probably on the right track when your neighbors mention that they have random orchids growing on their trees.
It's possible that other epiphytic plants besides orchids help to spread the necessary fungus. At the end of August my friend brought back a piece of Pyrrosia piloselloides from either Thailand or Cambodia. She gave me a small division and I attached it to a section of old trellis wood covered in New Zealand Sphagnum. I stuck part of the mount at an angle in a pot filled with bark and topped with a layer of Sphagnum. So the fern is both potted and mounted. Kinda hedged my bets. I thoroughly watered the fern and then I sowed some monopodial orchid seeds all over the surface of both the pot and the mount. The seeds were from...
P. vandarum x V. tricolor
R. imschootiana x R. gigantea?
Lastly I stuck the pot/mount in a zip lock bag under lights in my garage. The bag isn't completely sealed.
The fern quickly started to grow and last week I spotted one fat protocorm right next to the fern. It was just starting to put out its first leaf...which now looks a little wide for a vandarum cross. But perhaps the tricolor leaf is dominant.
I'm guessing that the orchid seed germinated as the result of fungus from the fern root. Although, the fern is attached to a twig...so maybe that's where the fungus came from. But I definitely wouldn't be surprised if some populations of Florida's most common epiphytic fern...Pleopeltis polypodioides...had the necessary fungus in their roots. So it's entirely possible that attaching this fern to trees might also help spread the necessary fungus.