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Maui on my Mind, Part 13

One of my favorite treats on Maui is attending the Maui Fair (or as we old-timers call it, "The Maui County Fair"). Many of my trips to paradise have been scheduled to be there in the fall so that I can attend The Fair. It appears that I may be a bit weird in that respect since I have recommended the Fair to many friends traveling to Maui and few, if any, have followed my advice. Oh well, their loss. My favorite attraction at the Fair is the Orchid Show. To be completely honest, I am not an expert in orchids but enjoy their exotic beauty nonetheless. Hopefully, I have been able to correctly identify the varieties I photographed. If I am wrong, please let me know and I'll correct my error.

Starting here we see a big splash of Cymbidiums. Delicate color but oh so beautiful. These orchids are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages.

Here we see small, delicate orchids although I do not know the variety. I love the purple tinge of color on the edges of each petal. Orchids are amazing in that they have adapted to a wide variety of habitats, from the high altitudes in the Himalayan mountains to lowland tropical forests and even to the dry climate of the Australian desert.

I believe this is also a variety of Dendrobium. Some species are in great demand by orchid lovers. This has resulted in numerous varieties and hybrids — including of some whose flowers have been reported to last up to 10 months. Some species are even used in traditional medicine.

Cattleyas are among the most popular orchids. Their culture is often used as the basis for comparison with other types of orchids. Cattleyas and their related hybrids come in many colors, shapes, forms, and sizes.

Another orchid with a striking color combination which I cannot identify. I have asked the sister of a friend who is an orchid expert for the correct name. I'll update the online version once I find out what kind of orchid it is.

You might notice that these Brassidium orchids resemble spiders — thus the common name "Spider Orchids".

The spider orchids are so exotic looking with their long, long stems holding spidery-looking flowers all along their length. These flowers actually evolved to attract a certain female parasitic wasp that lay their eggs on spiders in their webs. Since the flowers look like spiders, the wasp lays the eggs on the flower and is covered with pollen. As it moves on to the next “spider”, it thus pollinates the plant.

Another Cattleya showing the variety of colors and texture of the flowers. Very striking.

Next on display is an Encyclia cochleata orchid whose flower has a resemblance to an octopus. Amazing variety in orchids.

This particular orchid is called a "Tree Cattleya" — not because it is a tree but because they naturally can grow on a tree. They do not harm the tree but gain sustenance from nutrients that lodge in the crevices on the surface of the tree bark.

Here is one half of the orchid display. Signs tell visitors to not walk into the display but it appears that many people have trouble reading and obeying such signs. Therefore they had one or two helpers to shoo the trespassers away. I spoke to one woman who was policing the area and she became very helpful to my efforts by moving plants for a better shot. For instance, one orchid was being blown about in the air conditioning, which made it hard to get a nice sharp image (it kept moving in the breeze). She moved it to a nearby spot out of the breeze and a better photo was the result.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com