October 8, 2010

Orchid Spotlight: Catasetum maculatum




CATASETUM. - Richard, in Kunth Synops. I. 330. Lindley, Gen. et Species Orch. 136.


AN EPIPHYTE. PSEUOBULBS large and inclining to be globular, each bearing several broadly lanceolate, plicated, acute LEAVES, of a foot or a foot and a half in length. SCAPES radical, about the same length as the leaves, bearing from 4 to 8 flowers. SEPALS narrow, acuminate, the lateral ones arched after the manner of the half of a bow, whitish on the outer side, and faintly spotted with claret color on the inner; PETALS broader than the sepals, with blotches of a clear reddish chestnut hue. LlP cucullate, with a small circular opening on its face (the sides of which are delicately fringed), and furnished in front with a not very prominent tooth; the lip is of a uniform yellowish green on the outside, but is dark brown, approaching to black, within. COLUMN erect, nearly straight, bearing two short and stout bristles, which point downwards and lean towards each other, with their extremities almost touching; spotted on the back after the manner of a frog.
Although the figure on the opposite side does not exactly agree with the description of Catasetum maculatum given by M. Kunth in his Synopsis, still we have little or no doubt that we are correct in referring it to that species; and we have, moreover, the satisfaction of knowing that the opinion of Professor “setse," bristles, the column of all the species being furnished with two processes like hair which point downwards.

Lindley on this point coincides with our own. The only discrepancies of any moment are, that M. Kunth's plant is described as having serrated petals, and leaves only three inches long. Now, as to the latter character, it is too variable in this genus to be of any weight; and as to the former, we apprehend there must be some mistake, for no such a thing as a "serrated petal" has, we believe, ever been seen amongst Orchidaceae. The nearest affinity of this species is, undoubtedly, with Catasetum tridentatum; but from that it is easily distinguished, by the fringed margin of its lip (the apex of which terminates in a single tooth), and by its sepals and petals, which stand away from, and clear of, the lip, instead of half concealing it.

Catasetum maculatum was originally discovered by Humboldt, near the town of Turbaco, in New Grenada (and at that time was the only Catasetum known); but Mr. Skinner, who met with it on the eastern coast of Nicaragua, has the merit of having introduced it into this country; and our figure is taken from a plant which we received from him in the summer of 1836, and which flowered in the following winter. Having had occasion, in these remarks, to mention the name of the Baron Von Humboldt, we cannot deny ourselves the satisfaction of taking this opportunity of alluding, in terms of the most respectful gratitude, to the courtesy and kindness with which we were received by that illustrious traveler, when we visited Berlin in 1836. How deep was the admiration with which we gazed on his expressive countenance! and how great was our wonder when we found nothing to lead us to conclude that the perils and hardships of his long and laborious life had in any way impaired his physical energies, or damped the scientific ardor of his mind! His recollection of the scenes and incidents of his travels in South America (anno 1799), seemed as fresh as if he had returned but yesterday from those sultry shores! of the truth of which observation, the following anecdote will furnish a good illustration. Having had occasion to put a question to him respecting the Orchidaceae of a portion of Columbia, he at once proceeded to name the different genera and species which it contained, and to point out their respective localities, with such ease and precision, that one would almost have supposed Botany to have been his only study, and the Orchidaceae, his favorite tribe: this will appear not a little remarkable, when we remember that there is scarcely a science with which he is not even more familiar than with Botany.

Nothing can be easier to cultivate than the different species of Catasetum; they flower profusely alike under damp or dry, under hot or cold treatment; perhaps, however, they attain their highest vigor if subjected during the summer to a powerful moist heat, with a plentiful supply of water; but in the winter they should be kept tolerably dry.

October 7, 2010

Orchid Spotlight: Ondcidium leucochilum




ONCIDIUM. - Swartz. Act. Holm. 239. 1800. Brown in Hort. Kew. 5. 215.


AN EPIPHYTE. PSEUDOBULBS deeply sulcated, ovate, tapering towards the apex, compressed at the edges, from 2 to 4 inches long, throwing out numerous slender wiry roots. LEAVES sword-shaped, a foot or more long, one and sometimes two on each pseudo-bulb. SCAPE, 3-4 feet high, quite erect, bearing from its very commencement numerous branches, on which the flowers are rather loosely scattered. SEPALS and PETALS nearly equal, oblong, obtuse, spread wide open, of a bright green color, blotched with a rich reddish brown. LIP pure white, lobed; the lateral lobes small, rounded; the middle lobe broadly kidney-shaped, emarginate. CREST, consisting of 5 tubercles, of which the two outer are thin and sharp, the 2 inner fleshy and straight, and the middle one, (which is much the largest,) resembling in form the horn of a rhinoceros, pointing towards the base. WlNGS of the COLUMN crenulate, scimitar-shaped, of a faint rose-color.
The extensive genus Oncidium, which now comprehends upwards of sixty species, contains none more distinct or remarkable, we had almost said, more beautiful, than our present subject. In habit Oncidium leucochilum is large and stately, and approaches Oncidium altissimum, Baueri, and Oncidium pictum; but its flower-stems have the peculiarity of being branched from the very base, which we have never observed in any other species. Its most characteristic feature is, however, the well-proportioned pure white labellum, which contrasts agreeably with the dark-green sepals and petals. The rose-colored wings of the column likewise add to the elegance of the flower. In Oncidium pulchellum (which offers the only other known example of a white labellum), not only is the habit totally different, but the lip is spotted. Something like a white labellum is found in a little species, called Oncidium lunatum; but it is a very dirty white, and also blotched with brown. towards the center with yellow, and is so large as nearly to conceal the sepals and petals, which, like itself, are white.

The roots of Oncidium leucochilum are produced in great abundance, and are of a very fine wiry texture. As an example of a directly opposite character, we may instance Oncidium Cavendishianum (Tab. III., of this Work) of which the roots are few, but the thickest in the genus. The pseudobulbs of Oncidium leucochilum press closely upon one another, so that the roots get cramped and entangled amongst them in hopeless confusion, and to such an extent as almost to bury the poor tubers alive. When, on the arrival of a collection of Orchidaceae from abroad, a case of this description is observed, strong measures must be immediately resorted to; for although the love of fine specimens may plead against the dismemberment of so large a mass of bulbs so "full of lusty life," still it is next to impossible to cultivate the species with any success till it has been freed from this incubus of rubbish and roots. The latter have usually lost their vitality on their arrival; and if not, they soon become rotten when subjected to a moist heat; they are, therefore, apt to occasion the decay of the pseudo-bulbs, and at the same time are incapable of contributing in any way to their support. They are therefore to be removed carefully and speedily, which is not to be effected without breaking up the masses into pieces, each containing 3 or 4 pseudobulbs; and if among these any decayed ones be observed, they must at once be cut away. Besides the danger to be apprehended from decomposition, these collections of roots afford a secure retreat to a species of "Cockroach," of which we shall hereafter speak, and than which, Orchidaceae have no greater foe.

Oncidium leucochilum appears to be not uncommon in Guatemala, where it was found by Mr. Skinner, and sent to us in 1835; and in the autumn of the following year was produced the specimen from which our figure is taken.

October 6, 2010

About the Author

James Bateman (July 18, 1811 - November 27, 1897)

James Bateman was an accomplished horticulturist and landowner. He developed Biddulph Grange after moving there around 1840, from nearby Knypersley Hall. He created the famous gardens at Biddulph with the aid of his friend and painter of seascapes Edward William Cooke.
Born at Redivals near Bury in Lancashire, he matriculated from Lincoln College, Oxford in 1829, graduating from Magdalen College with a BA in 1834 and an MA in 1845. While studying at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1845, Bateman took great interest in collecting and cultivating tropical plants. Later, he became a fellow of Royal Horticultural Society; published writings on orchids and other horticultural subjects.

He was a collector of and scholar on orchids, President of the North Staffordshire Field Society, and served on the Royal Horticultural Society's Plant Exploration Committee. He had a number of notable sons who grew up at Biddulph Grange, including the painter Robert Bateman.

Bateman was a prominent collector and scholar on orchids and was one of the early developers of orchid culture. He sponsored expeditions to Mexico and South America enabling collectors to gather rare specimens. He published three lavish books about orchids. He pioneered "cool orchid cultivation" which enabled members of the genus Odontoglossum to be cultivated in England by replicating the cool arid climate of the cloud forests in Central America where these exotic flowers are found. Walter Hood Fitch, (1817-1892) was employed by Bateman to create the paintings for his magnificent orchid books. In addition to this work, Bateman produced A Monograph of Odontoglossum which is comprised of thirty large scale hand-colored lithographs.

Bateman's gardens are a rare survival of the interim period between Capability Brown landscape garden and the High Victorian style. The gardens are compartmentalized and divided into themes. He was also responsible for laying out the Arboretum at Derby, the first public park in England. The naturalist Charles Darwin received a box of orchids from Bateman on 25 January 1862 and a letter from him dated 28th January 1862.

The novel by Priscilla Masters, Mr Bateman's Garden (1987), is a fantasy set in the gardens. In 1861 Bateman and his sons gave up the house and gardens, and he moved to Kensington in London. He later moved to Worthing in Sussex, where he died in 1897.

List of Original Subscribers

The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala was one of the most revolutionary orchid books of it's time when it was first published in the mid-19th century.  Only 125 copies of the first edition were ever produced.  Fortunately, a new softcover edition is now available for purchase.

Here is a list of the original purchasers of the first edition of The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala:

The Top 20 Royalty of the Era

  • Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen Dowager.
  • His Majesty the King of the Belgians.
  • His Serene Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
  • His Grace the Duke of Bedford.
  • His Grace the Duke of Devonshire.
  • His Grace the Duke of Marlborough.
  • His Grace the Duke of Northumberland.
  • His Grace the Duke of Sutherland.
  • Right Hon. the Earl of Derby.
  • Right Hon. the Earl Fitzwilliam.
  • Right Hon. the Earl Talbot.
  • Right Hon. the Earl of Powis.
  • Right Hon. the Earl of Burlington.
  • The Lady Grey, of Groby.
  • The Lady Rolle.
  • Right Hon. Viscount Milton.
  • Right Hon. Viscount Lowther.
  • The Baron Von Humboldt, Berlin.
  • The Count Torlonia, Rome.
  • The Baron Delessert, Paris.
Lesser Royals and Wealthy Patrons
  • Sir P. De Malpas Grey Egerton, Bart., M. P.
  • Sir Charles Lemon, Bart., M. P.
  • Sir J. R. REID, Bart., M. P.
  • Adderley, Mrs., Barlaston Hall, Staffordshire.
  • Allcard, John, Esq., Stratford Green.
  • Butt, Rev. Thomas, Trentham, Stafordshire.
  • Birley, H. H., Esq., Swinton Park, Manchester.
  • Bow, W., Esq., Millbert Villa, Broughton.
  • Brocklehurst, T., Esq., The Fence, Macclesfield.
  • Baxter, R., Esq., Dee Hill, Chester.
  • Barclay, R., Esq., Lombard Street.
  • Barker, G., Esq., F. R. S., Springfield Birmingham.
  • Brewen, R., Esq., Leicester.
  • Baker, T. J., Lloyd, Esq., Hardwick Court, Gloucester.
  • Botfield, Beriah, Esq., Norton Hall, Daventry.
  • Crossley, L. T., Esq., Olive Mount, Liverpool.
  • Clowes, Rev. J. Broughton, Manchester.
  • Cheetham's Library, Manchester.
  • Copeland, Alderman, M. P., Lincoln's Inn Fields.
  • Compton, G., Esq., Milan.
  • Cox, Frederick G., Esq., Bennett's Hill, Doctors' Commons.
  • Davenport, Charles, Esq., Tunstall, Staffordshire.
  • Daubeny, Professor, Oxford.
  • Digby, E., Esq.
  • Edwards, Rev. E. J., Trentham, Staffordshire.
  • Egerton, W., Esq., Tatton Park, Cheshire.
  • Fielding, W. B., Esq., Stodday Lodge, Lancaster.
  • Glegg, Mrs., Rostherne Hall, Cheshire.
  • Grundy, Miss, Seedfield, Bury.
  • Gould, R., Esq., Manchester.
  • Grant, D., Esq., Manchester.
  • Grant, W., Esq., Springside, Bury.
  • Glegg, J. B., Esq., Withington Hall, Cheshire.
  • Holt, Miss, Redivals, Bury.
  • Harter, J. C, Esq., Broughton Hall.
  • Horticultural Society, The, 21, Regent Street.
  • Harrison, R., Esq., Aigburgh, Liverpool.
  • Horsfall, C, Esq., Everton, Liverpool.
  • Holford, R. S., Esq., Weston Birt, Gloucestershire.
  • Hodges, Twisden, Esq.
  • Kinnersley, Mrs., Clough Hall, Staffordshire.
  • Kean, Mrs., Rowley Hall, Staffordshire.
  • Lloyd, Edward, Esq., Cheetham Hill, Manchester.
  • Leaf, W., Esq., Old Change.
  • Lawrence, Mrs., Whitehall Place.
  • Llewellyn, J. D., Esq., F. R. S., Penllargare, Swansea.
  • Loddiges, Messrs., Hackney.
  • Legh, G. C, Esq., M. P., High Legh, Cheshire.
  • Moss, John, Esq., Otterspool, Liverpool.
  • Minton, Herbert, Esq., Stoke-upon-Trent.
  • Morris, Valentine, Esq., St. Mary-at-Hill.
  • Portico Library, The, Manchester.
  • Perkins, F., Esq., Southwark.
  • Schofield, W. T., Esq., Manchester.
  • Solly, R. H., Esq., F. R. S., Great Ormond Street.
  • Shirley, E. P., Esq., M. P., Eatington Park, Warwickshire.
  • Sparrow, Miss, Bishton Hall, Staffordshire.
  • Splitgerber, D., Esq.
  • Tomlinson, J., Esq., Cliff Ville, Newcastle-under-Lyne.
  • Van Marum, Dr. M., Taylerian Library.
  • Van der Hoop, M. Amsterdam.
  • Williamson, H. H., Esq., Greenway Bank, Staffordshire.
  • Wilbraham, Mrs., Rode Hall, Cheshire.
  • Walker, J. H., Esq.
  • Warner, T. Esq.
  • Walker, G. Esq.
  • Wailes, G., Esq., Newcastle.
  • Wilson, Christopher, Esq., Rigmaden Park, Kirby Lonsdale.
  • Wood, W. E. Collins, Esq., Keithwick, Perth.
  • Wilmore, J., Esq., Oldford, Manchester.
  • Walker, J. G., Esq.


  • Black and Armstrong, Messrs., 1 copy.
  • Simpkin and Marshall, Messrs., 2 copies.
  • Longman and Co., Messrs., 2 copies.
  • Reddall, Mrs. A. B., Congleton.
  • Rawson, Christopher, Esq., Hope House, Halifax.
  • Russell, J. Watts, Esq., Earn Hall, Staffordshire. I Bohn, Henry, G., 10 copies
  • Rucker, S., Esq., Wandsworth. Godwin, Mr. (Bath), 1 copy.

October 5, 2010

Press Release - Orchid-mania is Back

For Immediate Release
Contact:  John Denson  785-492-9277

Orchid-mania is Back

Orchid hobbyists are always looking for the finest books to help them learn more about their orchid collections.  The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala was written for the most discriminating orchid fanciers of all - European royalty.  In the 19th century, the Queen of England tasked orchid grower James Bateman with the massive task of describing new orchid species that were rapidly being discovered in Mexico and Guatemala by professional collectors.  Bateman worked with the finest artists, explorers, and scientists of his day to assemble one of the most important botanical works of all time.

Bateman described 40 species of exotic orchids in detail and explained how to successfully grow the temperamental tropical plants in England, which had been nearly impossible until after the publication of the work.  Detailed and beautifully rendered botanical illustrations accompany each orchid species. 

Only 125 original copies were printed in the 19th century, making The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala one of the rarest orchid books ever produced.  The list of purchasers reads like a who’s who of English and European celebrities in the mid 19th century.  Unfortunately, the original book is very rare and costly.  An original copy sold for $170,000 in 2002 by Christie’s at auction.  Fortunately, the book is now available as a reprinted softcover book.

James Bateman was a wealthy orchid hobbyist and amateur botanists who funded several orchid expeditions to Mexico and northern South America.  In addition to The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala, Bateman also published two other orchids books that helped spark Orchid-mania in Europe.

The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala is available exclusively for a limited time from www.Lulu.com for $64.95.


The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala by James Bateman.  Second Edition.  8 1/2 x 11, 175 pages, 40 color illustrations.  ISBN 978-0-557-65983-8.  $64.95.  See our press room for a 300 DPI TIF of the cover.

The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala Blog:  http://orchidsofmexicoandguatemala.blogspot.com/

Orchid T-Shirt Design - New Design

New orchid T-shirt designs are ready.  Inspired by the fine botanical illustrations in the book The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala, these shirts and gifts are sure to delight orchid lovers everywhere.
Purchase t-shirts and other orchid gifts inspired by artwork featured in The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala.  These shirts and gifts make great Christmas gifts. Available in mens and womens sizes.

Coffee mugs, tote, bags, and other orchid-themed gifts are available from our gift shop.  The artwork featured on these gifts is inspired by the botanical illustrations in The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala.  Use them for Christmas gifts or orchid society prizes.

October 4, 2010

Book Review for the Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala

The Orchids of Mexico and Guatemala by James Bateman has wonderful illustrations of many New World orchid species with fascinating descriptions of the plants and indigenous people of Mexico and Central America. The English environmental ethic (or lack thereof) in the mid-19th century seems shocking by today's standards. The gleeful discussion of over collecting of orchids and habitat destruction is enough to give one pause and reflect how far the West has come in 150 years. The original edition of the book is highly sought after by book collectors and was last sold by Sotherby's auction house for over $100,000 in 2002. Even the only reprinted edition of this book can sell for a thousand dollars. Orchid enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy this excellent volume and it's fine illustrations. Highly recommended.

Purchase Now