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Berge, A. John (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 41, Number 2 (Feb. 1940)

Russell, H. L.
Orchids for milady,   pp. 101-103


Page 101


Orchids
for
Milady
by _ .R sll H88
Director, Alumni Research Foundation
   H    ERE comes the brideo! The strains of
         Mendelssohn's beautiful tone poem float-
         ed out on the air as-she came down the
   broad, winding staircase on the arm of, her
   father. Robed in white with a long, sweeping
   veil of gauzy tulle, the corsage of exquisite
   orchids heightened the color of her face as she
   advanced to the altar to meet her groom. She
   raised the cluster of Catticya's to her cheek as
   she bowed her head to repeat the age-old vows
   of the marriage ceremony.
     For many, many years this has been the pie-
   tu.e that never fails to' interest. Orchids al-
   ways, than which there can be no finer embodli-
   ment ,of Nature's blessing on the marriage
   vows. _The plant world yields its most- beauti-
   ful creation to grace this occasion of all ocýca-
   sions. Like the diamond which is the aristo-
Scrat of gems in~ the mineral world, the orchid
   has no peer in the plant kingdom.
     One can well imagine that-
   the growing of orchids to
   meet the commercial demand
   must be a job of .major- di-
- mensions, but it may be a
   matter of surprise to learn
   that the business of supply-
   ing the market with this sin- -
   gle type of plant life runs§
   yearly into millions of dol-
   lars. Whehn a group Of New    -
   York   bankers, bought   dut
   Thomas Young     of- Bound
   Brook, New Jersey, the larg-
   est grower of orchids in this
   country, several million dol-
   lars were paid.   With the
   New   York   market at the
   door, it was:considered good
   business for Wall Street fn-    IT TAKES
   aneiers to give their close     YEA"RS TO
   attention to this highly spe-  "ROM SEBI
                                   One-Year-401
   cialized industry.              PFt*  Seed i
w
use orchidc growinj
they get from ti
their various stock
ORCHID cultur,
   -nent stimulus
when a Cornell Ui
Lewis Knudson dli
some orchids coul4
on a nutrient ag,
AT
irROlY
E~TO
i blossoms a y
amateurs in a
,- as a hobby
ieir efforts al
ar jelly, such as is customarily
teriological laboratories. Fur-
ar as, a source of energy, and
ontaining. nitrogen, he found
eh are scarcely visible to thew
naked eye were able to grow..
It takes over three million
seeds to weigh an ounce. Con-
sequently there is inot suffi-
cient reserve food stored up
in the, seed to enable growth
to take place except under-
the best of conditions. A
seed when placed on the Sur-
face of this jelly absorbsnu-
triment from its surround-
ings thus permitting growth.
as- a saprophyte. This work of
]Knudson 'carriedl ont,-in Cor-
nells  scientific ltioratories
as a piece of pure research,
without thought at first Of
commercial ap~plication,
proved of inestimable. impor-
tance to orchid - cultivation.
It made possible the develop-
mient, of, a- highly specialized
horticultural -industry. With
101


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