Carol Klonowski

Phone: 510-329-9955 Email:

SpecialtiesDendrobiums , Tolumnias, The History of Cattleyas, Vandas and Paphiopedlium
FormatOnline and in-person
Provides plants for sale?No


Carol Klonowski has been growing orchids since the 1980's when a friend in Berkeley, California, gave her a cattleya and it bloomed out with three big, dark lavender flowers and an intoxicating fragrance. She built an entire greenhouse in her backyard to accomodate the precious plant, which only led her to buy more orchids. Then another friend gave her a gift membership to the Orchid Society of California and it's been a serious hobby and passionever since. She can recall going to monthly meetings where orchid legends such as the late Frank Fordyce would be available to answer the many questions an eager hobbyist could ask. Carol is currently the President of the Orchid Society of California and an Accredited Judge with the American Orchid Society, California Sierra Nevada Judging Center.

Talks and Abstracts


Orchids of South Africa

South Africa is one of the world’s floral hotspots. In this talk, I take the audience around the major climate zones of the country, from high savannah and grassy veldt in the northeast, then south to the Drakensberg escarpment and coastal areas of Kwazulu Natal, and finally to the amazing floristic zones of the Western Cape. From Disa to Schizochilus zeyheri, this talk will introduce species seldom seen in the USA.

Dendrobiums of New Guinea

The equatorial landmass that is New Guinea is one of the planet’s richest in terms of flora and fauna. Nearly 70 percent of plants are endemic, or native, to the island, the highest percentage in the world. In addition, New Guinea is considered by many to be the distribution point for two of the largest orchid genera in the world: Bulbophyllum and Dendrobiums. This talk will take the audience on a tour of New Guinea through each major habitat, showing the Dendrobiums found there, and some no where else.


Tolumnias are a relatively recent arrival to the orchid hobbyist, although the 30+ species have been a part of the Oncidium alliance since the early 1800’s. Guido Braem raised the so-called Equitant Oncidiums to generic status in 1986, and they have been known as Tolumnias ever since. These charming, miniature orchids have an outsized amount of color and patterns in their species and hybrids. This talk will take the audience from Hawaii, to SE Asia, the West Indies in the Caribbean, and back to Hawaii to show how Tolumnias have been discovered and hybridized since the 1950’s.

The History of Cattleyas

From the first blooming of Cattleya labiata in England, through Victorian Orchid Fever, the cut flower and corsage trade, and finally, the demand from orchid hobbyists worldwide, this talk will go over the history of Cattleya orchids since the early 1800’s. It also introduces the major unifoliate and bifoliate species and major hybrids, as well as important cultural tips on how to grow these wonderful orchids. Note: this talk can be modified to showcase the First Lady Cattleyas by Arthur Chadwick.

Vandas and Vandaceous Breeding

This talk on the latest developments in vandaceous orchid breeding stems from a fascination not only with new species in the Vanda alliance but also improved versions of foundation species used in older crosses. Together, the two groups are producing new and exciting crosses that every orchid grower should consider adding to their collection. Through the expansion the genus to include Ascocentrum, Neofinetia and other genera, there is plenty to talk about in recent Vanda breeding trends.

Multifloral, Complex, Maudiae, and Asian Paphiopedilums

These four separate talks discuss the specifics of a part of the huge Paphiopedilum genus. Multiflorals are the warmer growing species, with Paph rothchildianum as the prime example. Complex paphs are a result of over 100 years of breeding cooler growing species to produce the large, long-lasting ‘bulldog’ flowers on a single stem. Maudiae paphiopedilums are the mottled leafed, warmer growing plants that are commonly seen in the pot plant trade, but are still being bred with new directions. Finally, Asian Paphiopedilums focuses on the Parvisepalum section, with its colorful, full-pouched species such as Paph micranthum, armeniacum and others.