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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 2, 2008

Orchid blooms waited for Mom

By Scot Mitamura

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Climate changes are causing orchids to bloom earlier or later than usual. Two types are blooming later, assuring plenty for Mother's Day.

Scot Mitamura

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25th Annual Manoa Orchid Society Show and Plant Sale

8:30 a.m.5 p.m. tomorrow; 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Noelani Elementary School, 2655 Woodlawn Drive


For additional information, call Charlene Oshiro, 988-7191

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The changing weather affects us in many ways. Through the media we hear about dramatic effects associated with global warming, such as droughts, floods, and glacial retreat raising the sea level of our oceans. Often, however, the effects of changing weather patterns are subtle. Slow changes may cause hardships for our agriculture, for instance, which in turn can have a direct impact on our economy.

Over the years, our winters in Hawai'i have been getting very mild. We rarely get the "Kona" storms we used to get as when I was a kid. I can vividly remember the howling winds coming off the Ko'olau, breaking tree branches and knocking off all of the mango flowers. Then there were the torrential rains, for days and sometimes weeks. I remember picking my prized orchids off the ground and trying to keep them dry in the garage.

Lately, our mild winters have been causing changes to the flowering patterns of many of my orchids, causing them to bloom earlier and earlier. One orchid in particular, the hono hono orchid (Dendrobium anosmum), has begun blooming in early- to mid-February. But last year, just when the hono honos were getting ready for a two-month rest period, the heavy rains in early December caused them to grow a little longer and delayed their winter snooze. Fortunately, the rains stopped and the only effect was a delay for this year's blooming season. The bulk of the hono honos started blooming in April, thus missing March orchid shows.

At Foster Botanical Garden, the hono honos are now in full bloom, and it looks like they'll continue to bloom well into May. Come by and visit the orchid display and enjoy their refreshing fragrance.

Normally, most hono honos are finished blooming well before Mother's Day. This is a rare year in that folks looking to buy Mom an orchid for Mother's Day will have the opportunity to snap up these late-bloomers. The butterfly orchid (Phalaenopsis) seems to have also been affected by the weather, and is blooming later this year. It should also be in plentiful supply for Mother's Day, May 11.

Gift ideas for Mom and more information about growing orchids will be available at this weekend's 25th Annual Manoa Orchid Society Show and Plant Sale in Manoa. In addition to shopping, the event offers beautiful orchid displays, free educational lectures, and free corsage- and lei-making classes (you can even take home what you make).