published May 1, 2012

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Slipper Orchid Forum in Singapore

Angela van Rooyen of South Africa contributes to the discussion at the Slipper Orchid Forum. Photo: Rod Knowles.

At the 20th World Orchid Conference (WOC) in Singapore in November 2011, the Slipper Orchid Alliance (SOA) organized a Slipper Orchid Forum that was attended by almost 100 slipper lovers from 19 countries: Australia, Bhutan, Borneo, Canada, China, Great Britain, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States. John Lawrence, conference chair, arranged for the space, proving an opportunity for slipper enthusiasts to meet and share ideas and concerns. Many prominent commercial growers, authors, specialists and representatives of slipper organizations were introduced, and they and other attendees spoke briefly. The consensus expressed was that they were glad that such a meeting was being held, and everyone wants more information, communication and cooperation.

One of the greatest benefits of arranging this forum was finding out about existing slipper organizations in addition to the Slipper Orchid Alliance. Known at this time are the Australian Paphiopedilum Society, the Paphiopedilum Study Group of Western Australia, the British Paphiopedilum Society, the Japan Paphiopedilum Association, the New Zealand Paphiopedilum Alliance, the Taiwan Paphiopedilum Society and the Paphiopedilum Club of Thailand. In addition, two organizations in the United States hold an annual meeting with speakers: the Paphiopedilum Guild in California, in January, and Paphiopedilum Forum in Washington, DC, in February.

Other organizations with broader interests were also represented at the meeting, including the Eric Young Orchid Foundation, the Swiss Orchid Foundation, The Orchid Review, several Asian universities and local and national orchid societies. Furthermore, there were many slipper enthusiasts who were contacted before the WOC who could not attend. Those who attended or may be interested in slipper orchids are now included in a network email list, so that information of wide interest can be disseminated easily. If other groups or individuals desire to be included in future email blasts, they should email me.

Dr. Toshinori Tanaka of the Japan
Paphiopedilum Association speaks
to the audience. Photo: Holger Perner.

Starting immediately, the SOA will provide an opportunity for sponsoring groups to publish information about upcoming meetings, forums, symposiums, shows etc. on its website and in its quarterly newsletter, based on information received from groups.

The SOA now can disseminate information through this network. For example, there is a great hunger for information about new species, which currently are described in many different publications. However, there is a source available that will be helpful in this regard. BiblioOrchidea is a rich online database of orchid publications maintained by Rudolph Jenny at the Swiss Orchid Foundation. By going to the website it is possible to check for new species and where they were described. The process cannot be detailed in this article but will be sent out in a network email blast to anyone who requests it.

This forum was a first step in fostering greater communication and cooperation among slipper orchid growers and organizations. Hopefully these groups and individuals will work out other ways to help each other and the slipper orchid community.

Barbara Tisherman, President, Slipper Orchid Alliance (email For information about the Slipper Orchid Alliance (website