I will likely be moving to the mountains
of northern Georgia in the near future.
The average high in January is 49.8 deg F
(extreme high around 70 between 1949-2003), and
the average low 28.5 (extreme low around -10
between 1949-2003). The average high in
July is 89.3 (extreme 102), and the low 65.7
(extreme around 45). Avg total ppt: 57.9 inches/
year (min 3.6 in Aug, max 6.3 in Mar). Avg
snow: 1.9 inches/year (max 0.8 in Jan).
Are there any varieties of vanilla that
will grow in that climate?
Yeah, that's what my investigations are pointing to. I read
that there were North American vanilla plants, so I thought
maybe there was a chance -- but all the ones I have found live
only in Florida in the wild.
Not likely. The vanilla beans are the fruiting bodies of a tropical orchid from
Madagascar. It can take a dozen years in a special greenhouse with perfect
conditions to bring a plant to fruit. Thus, the high price for vanilla.
On 20 Aug 2003 15:47:13 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Oliver) opined:
I wonder how true this still is. Apparently until recently (I don't have
any idea how recent is recent), orchid growers had no idea that a symbiotic
relationship with a certain fungus was required for pollention/flowering or
some such. So formerly, orchids were exceedingly rare, but now everybody
and their momma can have one. Just wondering if vanilla prices are still
artifically inflated because nobody's the wiser.
This is a little garbled. Fungal associations are not required for
flowering or pollination. Orchid seeds are basically naked embryos
without stored nutrients, so they depend on symbiotic fungi until they
grow true leaves and roots. Once the seedling has leaves and roots,
it is no longer compeletely dependent on fungi (although it may retain
mycorrhizal associations throughout its life).
Methods for germinating orchid seed on nutrient agar without fungi
were developed by Knudson in the early 1920's, and cloning of superior
orchids for the mass market was developed by Morel in 1960. Both
methods require skill at laboratory techniques and are not cheap.
Vanilla flowers only last a day or so, and on commercial vanilla
plantations, each flower must be individually pollinated by hand. A
single vanilla "bean" is obtained from each flower, and the beans must
be carefully processed after harvesting. It is very labor intensive.
Vanilla orchids are epiphytic vines which typically must be quite
large before they flower. It is usually not worth the effort for a
grower with a hobby greenhouse to maintain that much vanilla biomass
just for a few seed capsules.
>Just wondering if vanilla prices are still artifically
>inflated because nobody's the wiser.
I'm fairly new to the whole orchid craze but, from what
I've gathered, the lowering costs of orchids is more from
the enhanced cloning/meristemming/whatever they do than
from finding better/easier ways to pollinate.
As far as the vanilla orchid itself, I have two and have
read a bit about it. IIRC, for vanilla to propagate in
the wild, the plant is usually *huge*. Long, at least,
with something like 25 feet being what I recall. It's
a pretty fast growing plant. I bought one a little over
a year ago in a six-inch hanging pot and ended up
moving most of it to a large, shallow pot about six
months ago. I built a cheap tripod thingy to place in
the pot for the plant to be vined around and up and
it's getting more and more difficult to find some place
to twine it already. A small piece that broke off when
I repotted it was placed back in the original six-inch
pot and is in need of repotting already because it's
outgrowing the space.
Another part of the high price for vanilla beans is the
process that is needed for it to be usable. My eyes crossed
about halfway through the discussion of the process so I
can't even begin to recount it, but it seemed so compli-
cated that I decided then and there to just enjoy any
blooms if/when they came and forget about trying to make
use of any beans that show up. :)
That's not what he said.
The Vanilla species grown commercially for its beans is a Mexican species
but the genus itself is found throughout the tropics.
You should not be so presumptuous as to jump to the conclusion that "the
African and Madagascar native vanillas are of no commercial importance"
because that is just your opinion as far as you know and nothing more.
No, just someone who apparently knows more about the vanilla trade
than you do.
I don't have to disprove anything about the potential commercial value
of Madagascar or African vanillas. You have to back up your assertion
that they might have some; the burden of proof lies with you, not me.
J. Del Col
I didn't jump to a conclusion.
Only three species of Vanilla are used commerically, planifolia,
pompona, and tahitensis. None of them is native to Madagascar or
Planifolia comes from Mexico and Central America. Pompona is native
to the West Indies, and tahitensis comes from the South Pacific
V. planifolia is the source of nearly all commericial cooking vanilla
with pompona contributing a small percentage of product.
Tahitensis is used mainly for perfumes.
If you don't believe it, look it up.
J. Del Col
Not only do you jump to conclusions, you don't know how to properly cite
Never use a species epithet alone without indicating the genus to which it
belongs.Also species epithets are never capitalized, even when they are
derived from proper names. Check the International Code of Botanical
Nomenclature (ICBN) for the proper use of species names. Look it up.
It should be Vanilla planifolia, Vanilla pompona and Vanilla tahitensis or
V.planifolia, V.pompona and V.tahitensis, never Planifolia, Pompona or
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