Orchid Names: Goodale Moir

William Whitmore Goodale Moir (pronounced Moyer) was born in 1896 in Papaikou on the big island, Hawaii, the son of Scottish migrants. As well as being a long-time sugar industry agronomist with Amfax, Mr Moir was also a noted orchid breeder, developing more than 65 hybrids, giving later hybridisers a much better understanding of the genetic relationships between genera.

Paul Devlin Wood, writing in Hana Hou!, the magazine of Hawaiian Airlines, offered a link for Goodale Moir’s interest: “These first [orchid] collections were stocked by plant hunters, scouts sent by the sugar and pineapple companies to search the Pacific for new genetic material. One of these scouts, John Moir, returned in 1917 from the Philippines with boxes of live orchids. Moir’s son Goodale became a leading figure in the early days of hybridisation …” Read the full article here.

In 2015 the Hawaii Tribune Herald reported: “Early in the 20th century, John Moir of Honolulu and later his son, Goodale, built one of the earliest orchid collections in the state. The Moir collection passed to Herbert Shipman on Hawaii Island just before the outbreak of World War 2.” Mr Shipman then became one of Hawaii’s first commercial growers.

The Spanish Colonial Revival home Goodale built in 1930, known as Lipolani, has been recognised by the Hawaii Historic Foundation. The one-storey home on the outskirts of Honolulu is a significant example of the residential work of architect Louis E. Davis.

Mr Moir  chose the wedge-shaped site at the junction of two streets because it had the best trade wind flow. He was a strong believer in the flow of breezes and their favorable effect on plant growth and health. He built a “puka puka” [vented tile] wall to protect the garden from the full force of the Nu’uanu trades while allowing for good air circulation.

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Goodale and May Moir pictured in their Honolulu garden in 1978. Photo: John A Stevens

Goodale and May Neal were married in 1950 (she had been widowed the previous year) in the Moir Gardens in Po’ipu, Kaua’i. The garden was Goodale’s creation, and was cared for and maintained by his brother Hector and sister-in-law Sandi (Alexandra Liliko’i Knudsen).

For most of Lipolani’s first 18 years the entire garden was given over to orchids in landscape beds – until orchid stem borer reached Hawai’i in the 1950s. In the process of clearing out dead and diseased plants, the Moirs did a major garden renovation, eliminating lawn and replacing it with concrete pavers and basalt stepping stones, while at the same time almost completely enclosing the garden in such a way as to create several courtyards with distinctive characteristics.

After the garden’s orchids were removed, the couple then grew bromeliads on a large scale, although both had grown and loved bromeliads “since they could walk”, and created one of Honolulu’s most celebrated gardens (registered with the Smithsonian Institute). The property was for sale in 2015 – leaving the family for the first time. Read more here.

In his book, Gardens of Hawaii, landscape architect Stephen Haus calls Mrs Moir “the godmother of Hawaii gardeners”. She was visited by garden enthusiasts and landscapers from as far away as Brazil, Bali and Thailand.

A 1979 article in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society by John A Stevens recounts visiting  the Moirs at their home.

“Goodale (as he is known to close friends) has had several hundred articles published on orchids and their hybridising, starting with Dendrobiums, Vandas, Phalaenopsids, Cattleyas, Epidendrums, the Laelinae Tribe, and recently, the Oncidieae. Research and collecting trips for the last-named tribe have taken Goodale to Jamaica and the Caribbean on numerous occasions. His seemingly endless hybridisation of the miniature Oncidiums has been duly recorded in the list of New Orchid Hybrids published regularly by The Orchid Review.

“But … let it be known that Goodale has devoted more and more time in recent years to growing bromeliads, and writing about them, and has possibly 25 or more articles in print on bromeliads, most of them appearing in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society. Goodale’s style has always intrigued me: forceful, concise, sometimes a trifle opinionated.”

Mr Stevens describes Mr Moir as small of stature with a smooth, round face that at times could look “almost Orientally inscrutable”.

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Miltonia Goodale Moir ‘Golden Wonder’ at the 2017 Te Puke Orchid Show. Photo: Sandra Simpson

A note in Mrs Moir’s 1983 book The Garden Watcher said that more new intergeneric orchid species had been created and named in their garden than at any other spot on Earth – interestingly, Mr Moir, who tracked the results of more than 50,000 intergeneric cross attempts that he made over a period of decades, was convinced that the take rates were higher during the two phases of the moon that correspond to rising tides!

In the early 1950s Mr Moir pioneered Tolumnia orchid breeding when he began crossing species he had collected while on business trips in the West Indies. The first 25 years of activity were dominated by his efforts and by the 1970s the potential he was coaxing out of “Moir’s weeds”, as they were called, encouraged others to join the pursuit. The most active being Richard and Stella Mizuta and Robert and Susan Perreira, also of Hawaii. The foundation Mr Moir had painstakingly laid was about to bear fruit. Tolumnia Golden Sunset (Stanley Smith x Tiny Tim) was made by the Perreiras, and registered by Francis Aisaka in 1975. Read more at the American Orchid Society.

Milton O Carpenter, writing in 2000 in the AOS journal, said: “In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of temperature-tolerant Oncidiinae, a descriptive term that I apply to those plants that will thrive in temperatures from 45 to 100 F [7C-38C]. Pioneering work … was done by the late W. W. Goodale Moir of Hawaii, who registered 273 Oncidiinae intergeneric hybrids in 46 different combinations. Building on Goodale’s foundation, Helmut Rohrl of California, George Black of England, this writer (all protegés of Goodale), and a few others, have been engaged over the past 30 years or so in a continuing exploration of the limitless possibilities within this alliance.” Read more here.

In his Orchids of Asia book (2005), Eng-Soon Teoh writes “W W Goodale Moir of Honolulu dominated the breeding programme of the Oncidium in a way that no one else has been able to do for any other orchid subtribe or genus.”

As well as co-writing a handbook on Hawaiian soils (published in 1936), Mr Moir also contributed to Variegata Oncidiums (1970), Breeding Variegata Oncidiums (1980 – read the chapter on the culture of these plants), Creating Oncidiinae Intergenerics (1982) and Laeliinae Intergenerics (1982), as well as publishing many hundreds of articles on orchids.

Among his awards: Fellowship of the Orchid Society of South East Asia (at the 1966 World Orchid Conference in Los Angeles); Garden Club of America Medal (1973), AOS Silver Medal of Achievement (1982).

Among the orchids he registered with the Royal Horticultural Society were: Cattleya Memoria Goldie C. Moir (1948), Tolumnia lalita Pia (1950), Cattleya Peggy Moir (1951), Tapropapilanthera May Moir (1953), Miltonia Goodale Moir (1954), Oncidium Twinkle (1958), Miltonia May Moir (1959), Vanda Charm (1960), Miltonia Sunset (1961), Miltonia Purple Queen (1961), Vandachostylis Lilac Blossom (1963), Brassia Rex (1964), Miltonia Guanabara (1964), Stanhopea Memoria Paul Allen (1968), Eipcattleya Yucatan ‘Richella’ (1969), Catasetum (Clowesia) Rebecca Northern (1971), Bratonia (Miltonia) Olmec (1975), Bratonia (Miltonia) Aztec (1976), Aliceara Dorothy Oka (1976), Tolumnia Henemoir (1977), Oncidium Gypsy Beauty (1978), Aliceara Tropic Splendor (1981) and Aliceara La Jolla (1983).

Mr Moir died in 1985 and Mrs Moir in 2001, aged 93. Read an obituary for her here.

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Orchid Auction

Tauranga Orchid Society traditionally starts its year with a fun Orchid Auction – to which everyone, club member or not, is most welcome.

This year’s event is on Tuesday, February 20, starting at 7pm in the Wesley Church Hall.

As well as orchids of all types, there will be bromeliads, tillandsias and other other plants, books and magazines, orchid growing gear (including pots and baskets), often there are bags of fruit … our ‘super auctioneer’ Conrad keeps the evening ticking along with plenty of laughs along the way.

Terms of sale are cash only and try to remember to bring some bags or boxes to take your purchases home. When you arrive pick up a bidding number from the recording team, grab a seat and prime your bidding finger! At the end of the evening, grab a cuppa while the recording team tots up then wander over and pay.

Many thanks to all the club members who are donating plants and goods to the auction and to our volunteer team that runs the event.

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Beating the Summer Doldrums

This is the summary of the talk given by Conrad Coenen at our November 2017 meeting and carried in the December newsletter but, given the long spells of heat and humidity we’ve been having, I thought it might be useful as a ‘front-page’ post.

Conrad was addressing how to care for orchids over summer. Please bear in mind that urban Tauranga has been on water restrictions since December 16 – that means no watering outside the hours of 5am-8am and 7pm-10pm. Read the full details of the restrictions here.

Warmer temperatures: Plants control their temperature by respiration and transpiration. Just as we sweat, the plant gives off moisture from holes (or stomata) on the underside of their leaves. Our task is to provide moisture, shade and air movement as close as possible to their natural habitat.

The shape, texture, and colour of the leaf can give guidance to the placement of the plant in your orchid house – plants with large, soft leaves, usually a lighter green/yellow colour (eg, Lycaste), prefer less heat and lower light levels, while smaller, stronger leaves (eg, terete (pencil) foliage types) can handle heat and drier conditions.

Humidity: Many of the problems around temperature can be solved by raising the moisture levels in your orchid-growing area, be it a shade house, courtyard, shelves against the wall, or in your garden.

Damping down (watering floors, benches or walls) regularly on hot summer afternoons will lessen the stress on your orchids, as will providing shallow trays of water, misting, spraying water on the outside of the orchid house. Try not to ‘water’ your plants too often as the roots need the opportunity to dry out. More orchids are killed by over-watering than anything else. One heavy ‘monsoon’ every 4-5 days will be better than a light water every day. Try to organise your orchids into groups that have the same water requirements – dry, medium and wet, to simplify your watering programme. Air movement is very important, so open vents and doors, buy a fan, or hang and place your orchids outside under trees.

Longer sunlight hours: The greater warmth and longer growing time is used by plants to initiate flowering and the plant will require more watering and food. Our NZ summers and early autumns are generally hot and dry, while the natural habitat of most of our orchids is monsoonal, hot and wet. But as many of these orchids are growing higher in the valleys and hillsides, it is hot during the day and cool at night, which are the perfect conditions (around 15-18C) to develop flower spikes. Many orchids can handle high light levels, but remember NZ’s ‘high UV levels’ and protect from burning afternoon sun. Cymbidiums will definitely produce more flowers outside, but make the change gradually to prevent sunburnt leaves.

Drought: A long, hot summer in a black plastic bag or pot, with little water, will dry out and permanently damage the orchid root system.  This can kill or severely retard growth and the production of new shoots or flowers, setting you back many years.

Desiccation: Hot dry winds will force plants to close stomata, to prevent loss of water, so ensure the wind can collect moisture as it moves around the orchid house (water-filled trays).

Feeding: Conrad advises watering plants the day before feeding them. When the bark and roots are damp there will be no chemical burning to the roots and your fertiliser will go much further. Do remember to water your pots regularly with just plain water to flush out any lingering fertiliser salts.

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Winika orchid

If you go into the bush this summer you might be lucky enough to see a Winika in flower. Native to New Zealand, it is an epiphytic orchid with the sole species Winika cunninghamii (syn Dendrobium cunninghamii). It is commonly found in rainforest in the North, South, Stewart and Chatham islands and usually flowers in summer and early autumn. Its common names are winika, pekapeka (confusingly, also the word for a bat in te reo), Christmas orchid and bamboo orchid (owing to the bamboo-like stems).

Winika cunninghamii was first catalogued by Daniel Solander (who voyaged with Cook and Banks) as Epidendrum pendulum.

Botanist Richard Cunningham (1793-1835) collected a specimen in the Whangaroa area in 1833-34, and it was subsequently named Dendrobium cunninghamii by botanist and orchidologist Professor John LindleyRead more about Richard Cunningham and his botanist brother Alan here.

Australian scientists Mark Clements (M A Clements) and David Jones have more recently (about 2007) removed it to form Winika cunninghamii. Read more about the re-naming of NZ orchids here.

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Winika in bloom in East Harbour Regional Park, Wellington. With a diameter of 2.5cm, the flower is the largest of New Zealand’s epiphytic orchids. Image: Kotare (Wikipedia)

The orchid gave its name to a Waikato war canoe – legend has it that in 1838 once the totara for the hull was felled “masses” of the orchid was found on the tree.

Te Winika, which was buried during the Land Wars, was restored in the 1930s by a team including carving student – and later renowned opera singer – Inia Te Wiata. The waka, again refurbished in 1972, was used ceremonially from 1938 to 1973. Now on display in Waikato Museum, Te Winika was gifted to Hamilton city in 1973 by the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

New Zealand Post released a native orchid miniature sheet to mark the 1990 World Stamp Exhibition in Auckland. Winika was a 40c stamp, alongside the sun orchid (Thelymitra pulchella), spider orchid (Corybas macranthus), greenhood orchid (Pterostylis banksii) and odd leaved orchid (Aporostylis bifolia).

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Te Papa Museum’s Herbarium has various specimens of Winika cunninghamii, several with images.

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Vale Alec Roy

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Alec Roy, pictured in 2013 in his orchid house. He designed and made the terracotta pots so they took up as little room as possible – meaning he could fit in more plants. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Alec Roy, who died on December 22 aged 77, had at various times served Tauranga Orchid Society as president (15 years), secretary and treasurer and in 2017 was a committee member. He was also the ‘brains’ behind many of the annual show displays and those mounted for the national expo, including the 2016 Auckland expo.

Alec joined the Tauranga society in about 1982 having previously been a member of the Otago Orchid Society and shipping his orchids north.

Until his illness Alec and wife Lynley cared for the Bromeliad section at Te Puna Quarry Park and were both also members of the Quarry Park Society and the BOP Bromeliad Group.

Alec was a keen artist in several media, including metal and clay, and enjoyed making art from recycled materials. He had exhibited his work at every Tauranga Garden and Artfest from the event’s beginning in 1996 until the most recent biennial festival in 2016. He took up potting at night school after an early retirement from almost 40 years in banking and was an award-winning member of the Bethlehem Pottery Club.

A man of many, and diverse, talents, Alec had been a longtime Scoutmaster and had also been a keen weightlifter, serving with weightlifting organisations, as well as at one time holding a North Island record. He was also involved with the organisation and running of the weightlifting competition at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games.

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Merry Christmas 2017

Yesterday’s annual Tauranga Orchid Society Christmas lunch was a chance for a good chinwag on a gloriously fine day at Te Puna Quarry Park. Thirty-five members enjoyed a potluck lunch with barbecue sausages cooked by Barry and then a fun exchange of gifts, courtesy of Secret Santa.

Many thanks to the worker bees who made it happen – Conrad, Brian, Barry and Laurie; and the all-important dish-washers and dryers Wilma, Emma, Pam, Rosalie, Libby, Noelene and Winsome. Photos by Sandra.

(And the power cut didn’t affect us one bit. Good work, team.)


Bob’s beard and cheerful demeanour made him the obvious choice for the Santa hat.


The cherry trees beside the Gallery created welcome shade and there were plenty of takers. From left, Isobel, Bertha and Dale.


Audrey (left) and Jan.


Ute (left) and Elizabeth.


Erica (left) and Diane.


Adding to the festive spirit was Jill (right) with her Santa sunglasses, pictured with Jocelyn.


Winsome and Craig brought their biggest smiles.


Libby (left) and Avis in conversation.


Conrad had hoped to win the raffle himself – a canvas photo of Kaiete Falls generously donated by Jocelyn and Bob – but the prize went home with Craig.


The lunch table – filled with beautiful food and a large bouquet of sweetpeas brought by Dale and Jack.

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Orchid news

Palmerston North is to be the venue for the next New Zealand Orchid Expo in September 2019, jointly hosted by the Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay societies. Well done them! The good news was released this morning by the Orchid Council of NZ.

The Waitakere Orchid Club yesterday won Silver for its display in the Community Gardening tent at the New Zealand Flower and Garden Show, which opened today at the Trusts Arena in west Auckland and runs until Sunday.

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The Silver medal Waitakere Orchid Club display. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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A steam engine emerges from a tunnel …

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… heading for another tunnel. Photos: Sandra Simpson

Tucker’s Orchid Nurseries have a retail sales stand on site.

The NZ Flower and Garden Show is something of a replacement for Ellerslie, which has gone into abeyance in Christchurch, although that city still holds the naming rights for the event. Kate Hillier, director of NZFGS, says it’s been 11 years since Auckland had a major garden show.

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