Many of us will attend the Monocots II Conference in Sydney, Australia, from 27 September to 2 October this year with a full day of talks on orchid systematics and biology and some interesting pre- and post-conference tours to North Queensland, rainforests of northeastern New South Wales, and the Blue Mountains. It's not too late to register to attend the Conference by writing to Professor C. Quinn, School of Biological Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia, for the third circular and registration form. Alternatively, you can access full information and registration forms on the Internet with this address:

Now is the time to begin preparing in earnest for the 16th World Orchid Conference in Vancouver, 22 April to 3 May 1999. In fact, registrations and bookings for accommodations are already in full swing. The Conference is to be held in Vancouver's exquisite Trade and Convention Centre, topped with canvas sails which make it seem as if it's ready to weigh anchor in Burrard Inlet. The overall impression is something like the Sydney Opera House. Sixty invited speakers are scheduled over four days, beginning with the plenary session on 28 April devoted to conservation, followed by afternoon sessions on both conservation and "Science for the Citizen." On the other three days will be concurrent horticultural and scientific sessions covering everything from ecology to photography to native orchids.

One session will focus on the latest, exciting results from molecular systematics and what they entail for phylogenetically based revisions of our favorite genera and species. The relatively recent advent of molecular techniques has done nothing less than revolutionize the way we view orchid phylogeny in that it focuses directly on the genotype instead of the phenotype. This is not to say that molecular data are intrinsically more important than other types of data, but combined with other types of data they do afford a more objective and fundamental way of viewing the natural world around us, from the subfamily level down to the population level, depending on the gene regions and techniques used.

Among the many innovations of this WOC is the inclusion of a copy of the Proceedings in the registration fee (excluding students and one-day registrants). The lectures, the show and awards, and the social events will all be documented in this volume certain to be a keepsake, like all WOC Proceedings before it.

The show promises to be magnificent, with the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion adjoining a central fountain, and exhibits from around the world radiating outward. Add to these draws the sales area, the social events, the Conference tours of Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and Whistler Mountain, and the post-Conference tour of British Columbia's wine region and an Alaskan cruise, and you have an unmissable World Orchid Conference.

For further information, the web site for the 16th WOC is:
For a registration brochure,contact Douglas Allison at

We and the organizers of the WOC certainly hope to see you all there!

Alec Pridgeon

Title page
News from Correspondents

1 September, 1998.
Copyright The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.