The San Francisco Orchid Society meets on the first Tuesday of every month.

Located at San Francisco County Fair Building (Hall of Flowers), adjacent to the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum (at Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco).

Plants submitted for American Orchid Society Judging must be entered between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m.

Next Meeting: September 5, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.

September Speaker: Robert Pemberton, topic “Biotic resource needs of orchid pollinators”


Dr. Bob Pemberton is a retired research entomologist formerly with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. As a foreign explorer, he traveled the world searching for the natural enemies of invasive plants and insects that were devastating natural environments. He began studying orchids and their pollinators when an orchid bee from Central America appeared on his front porch in Fort Lauderdale. Bob has studied the pollination ecology of species of Cyrtopodium in Florida, Cypripedium in Sichuan, China and Phragmipedium in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Joanne and dog.

Dr. Pemberton’s talk is on “Biotic resource needs of orchid pollinators.”

Orchid pollinators can have highly varied life histories with complex biotic resource requirements, about which we have limited knowledge. Because thousands of orchid species offer no rewards, their pollinators must obtain pollen and nectar from other plants. Many moth and butterfly pollinators require essential larval host plants. Some orchid pollinators are insect predators and parasitoids with specific prey types such as aphids and even subterranean scarab larvae. Orchid bees, the only pollinators of about 700 neotropical orchids, must have particular plant chemicals for their reproduction. Loss of critical biotic resources can cause the loss of orchid pollinators or reduce their abundance and effectiveness.

Skills Session: begins at 7:00 p.m.
Debra Atwood - Taking your orchids from summer into fall - a time for adjustments

Upcoming SFOS Meetings

  • September 2017: Robert Pemberton – Biotic resource needs of orchid pollinators
  • October 2017: Marni Turkel – Topic TBD
  • November 2017: Jeff Tyler – Orchid foliage and more
  • December 2017: Holiday Party
  • January 2018: TBD
  • February 2018: Ken Jacobsen – Orchid Travels in Peru
  • May 2018: Brandon Tam – Orchids at Huntington Gardens
  • June 2018: Dean Hung – The Orchid Hunters

Current Newsletter

September 2017 SFOS Newsletter (PDF)