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Minutes of the Thirteenth Plenary Meeting of the International Orchid Commission



Held at the 16th World Orchid Conference in Canada in room 10 of the Waterfront Trade & Convention Centre, Vancouver, on Friday 30 April 1999 at 13.30hrs.


INTERNATIONAL ORCHID COMMISSION
(c/o The Royal Horticultural Society, 80 Vincent Square,
London, SW1P 2PE, England)


Chairman:
Joyce Stewart, Director of Horticulture, RHS Gardens, Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB, England
Secretary:
Peter F. Hunt,, Orchid Registrar, P. O. Box 1072, Frome, Somerset, BA11 5NY, England


1. Introduction by Chairman
2. Apologies for Absence
3. Minutes of the Twelfth Meeting
4. Matters Arising
5. Triennial Reports of Committees
6. Membership of International Orchid Commission
7. Membership of Constituent Committees
8. Any Other Business
Appendix A

The members present were as follows:

David Brown (USA)

Phillip Cribb (UK)

Vinciane Dumont (Switzerland)

Peter Furniss (USA)

Cordelia Head (USA)

Don Herman (USA)

Ernest Hetherington (USA)

Peter Hunt (UK)

Syoichi Ichihashi (Japan)

Harold Koopowitz (USA)

Gerald McCraith (Australia)

Sydney Monkhouse (Australia)

Ned Nash (USA)

Alec Pridgeon (UK)

Gerd Röllke (Germany)

Joyce Stewart (UK)

Kiat Tan (Singapore)

Wally Thomas (Canada)

Yoshitaka Ueda (Japan)

The observers present were as follows:

R. Abel

S. Callum

Doreen Hunt

Sheila Kell

D Nieman

Henry Oakeley

Isaias Rolando (Peru)

Kamezo Saito representing Kohji Karasawa (Japan)

Wendy Strahm

1. Introduction by Chairman

The Chairman in opening the thirteenth plenary session of the International Orchid Commission welcomed the members and observers present and thanked the Conference organizers for arranging for the meeting to be held in this room. Mrs Stewart continued by reporting that no members had passed away since our last meeting. However, she had learned that certain members were in poor health and felt sure that all present would want to wish them a speedy recovery. Several apologies for absence had been received, and these would be reported as the next item.

The Chairman, in remarking on the continuing increase in the worldwide use of various aspects of information technology, said that it was intended to put a limited version of the International Orchid Register on the web site of the Royal Horticultural Society where it would be accessible to all orchid growers. Following suggestions received from several sources, the RHS was investigating putting the list of New Orchid Hybrids, currently published bi-monthly in The Orchid Review and elsewhere on the RHS web pages.

2. Apologies for Absence

Christopher Bailes (UK)

Christopher Brickell (UK)

Mark Chase (UK)

Don Gallagher (Australia)

Eric Hagsater (Mexico)

Ian Melrose (Australia)

Kohji Karasawa (Japan) - represented by Kamezo Saito (Japan)

Marcel Lecoufle (France)

Phillipe Lecoufle (France)

Alasdair Morrison (UK)

Jerry Rehfield (USA)

Michael Tibbs (UK)

Piers Trehane (UK)

3. Minutes of the Twelfth Meeting

The acceptance of the minutes as a true record of the twelfth meeting held in Rio de Janeiro in 1996, which had been mailed to all members and printed in the official Proceedings of the 15th World Orchid Conference, was proposed by Sydney Monkhouse, seconded by Don Herman, and approved unanimously by the members present.

4. Matters Arising

4. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising that would not be dealt with later in the agenda.

5. Triennial Reports of Committees

a. Conservation Committee

Phillip Cribb reported that the IUCN/SSC Orchid Specialist Group had met twice since reporting to the twelfth meeting of IOC in 1996, the latest meeting being held immediately prior to this current meeting of IOC. He continued by saying that the Group had been reconstituted with himself as Chairman having taken over from Eric Hagsater who had been in that position for ten years.

Eight Regional subgroups had been established. An electronic newsletter is now published, and funding for its activities this year had been provided by IUCN, American Orchid Society, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The following recommendation of the Conservation Committee of IOC that IOC supports the IUCN/SSC Orchid Specialist Group in the following matters was proposed by Ned Nash, seconded by Peter Furniss, and unanimously endorsed by IOC:

That the Orchid Specialist Group takes a more pro-active stance in global conservation initiatives, habitat protection and management

That the Orchid Specialist Group acts as a focus for orchid conservation, liaising with existing groups and catalysing new initiatives

That the Orchid Specialist Group supports worthwhile conservation research and products

That the Orchid Specialist Group functions more actively in the status review process for orchid species and habitats.

In the discussion Harold Koopowitz suggested that the OSG should lobby for two categories of orchid material to be removed from CITES legislation, namely seeds of Appendix I species and pre-1990 herbarium specimens. Cribb said that this was not the role of the OSG but that IOC should register its concern.

Kiat Tan asked that IOC should make a statement to CITES expressing its concern that global biodiversity as it relates to orchids was being seriously threatened by habitat destruction such as forest clearance, drainage schemes, and road and urban construction and that CITES regulations should be relaxed to allow orchid plants threatened by habitat destruction and of imminent danger of destruction to be rescued and moved to propagating centres, including overseas botanic gardens and nurseries.

Kamezo Saito expressed concern about Cypripedium species being exported from China, and Phillip Cribb confirmed to the meeting that they were being exported illegally without valid CITES permits, pointing out that the trade was being carried out largely on the Internet. He said that many of these species are now being propagated in nurseries.

b. Taxonomy and Nomenclature Committee

Joyce Stewart reported that this committee had not met since 1996 but would be holding several meetings in the future to consider the immediate and long-term implications for hybrid registration and awarding/exhibiting of ongoing fundamental molecular (DNA) research on generic and specific limits in the family. Phillip Cribb would be preparing a paper on these matters which would be circulated to all members of the Commission for information and comment. The Chairman said that a decision may have to be made as to whether we stayed with the present taxonomy and nomenclature or whether we changed to a stable system but she felt that publication of the results of the research would not be the end of the process and that there was a great need for more material to be investigated. Ernest Hetherington noted that preliminary DNA results reflected current breeding behaviour and consequently some changes were inevitable. Harold Koopowitz asked how multi-generic names would be handled. Phillip Cribb said that a Working Party was being established to investigate the implications of the research on orchid hybrid nomenclature. Phillip Cribb also assured the Commission that any nomenclatural changes necessitated by this molecular research would be published in the usual way and would not be published on the Internet.

c. Handbook Committee

Peter Hunt reported that this committee had not met since the last report given at the 15th World Orchid Conference in Brazil in September 1996.

There were so many major developments in the field of botanical nomenclature, and even greater ones in orchid taxonomy, that it was felt unwise to instigate changes to our present rules and procedures which are based on the current taxonomic and nomenclatural situation.

Additionally consideration was being given as to whether the next edition of the Handbook should be produced as a single volume or if the more frequently changing sections, mainly those containing names of orchids, should be issued in another format. It would also be decided if the publications should be issued solely in conventional printed format or also in electronic form either as a disc or on the Internet.

Significant changes to Appendix I - Names of Hybrids- of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature were being put forward for discussion, and possible eventual implementation, at a conference in St. Louis, Missouri, this coming July. These changes could require a description and typification of all new hybrid generic names which would mean not only some additional work for the orchid registrar but also considerable extra requirements for orchid breeders. These extra requirements for breeders could have the negative effect that some of them will not bother about registering their plants, and that is a situation to be avoided.

There were also attempts to impose an additional requirement for all new hybrid generic names to be further "registered" by an international authority to be established before the names can be used. At the 15th World Orchid Conference in Rio in 1996 Phillip Cribb alerted IOC to the threat to orchid nomenclature from the "Biocode", an attempt to unite the rules of nomenclature of plants with that for animals. It was now understood that this threat had receded, but it was necessary to be ever vigilant to these additional regulations and requirements which at best will be of no benefit to the worldwide orchid growing community and at worst require us to change many of the names of our orchids.

Fortunately there are orchid specialists (and others who understand the traditions and needs of orchid breeders and growers) on the appropriate international committees, and they will make their views known. Much fundamental research on the relationships within the orchid family is being undertaken primarily using molecular techniques ("DNA"), and the preliminary results indicate that the limits of genera could be permanently established. This is particularly important for orchid hybrid registration which is often criticized for not accepting the latest revisions of genera.

When the complete results of the DNA research have been published and when the nomenclatural situation becomes clearer and both have been accepted by the majority of orchid specialists (botanists and growers/breeders) the names of all plants mentioned in the Handbook, and our rules and recommendations will be assessed, and if appropriate, amended, and then all of this will be submitted to the IOC before final implementation in a future edition of the Handbook.

d. International Registration Authority for Orchid Hybrids

The International Orchid Registrar, Peter Hunt, reported that during the period October 1996 to April 1999 averages of 275 applications to register continue to be received each month. Ten per cent of these are initially postponed, awaiting further information or clarification of data, and about 5% rejected as the cross had already been registered. Thus 95% of new names are accepted and enter the International Orchid Register.

He continued by stating that except when the Registration Office was closed for staff vacations and public holidays almost all applications were processed and returned to the applicants within five working days of receipt.

Since the last meeting of IOC in 1996 six natural genera, 40 new hybrid genera, 170 species, and about 8000 new grexes entered the IOR. Additionally an average of 13 new registrants enter the IOR each month, which is about four hundred since the 15th WOC. Although most of these were from the usual places such as USA, Japan, and Australia, there have been several new registrants from the countries of South America.

Despite rising costs such as the recently announced increases in mailing charges in the UK, equipment costs and staff salaries, the fee of US$12.50/GB£7.50 had remained constant since 1990. Consideration was being given to adding the Euro to the currencies accepted for payment.

In March 1997 the computer program and database were transferred from a Prime computer (using Unix Oracle) in the Royal Horticultural Society's London premises to a Compaq Deskpro (using MS Access) in the Registration Office at the Registrar's home in Frome, Somerset. For security purposes and use outside of the office, the program and the entire database are regularly downloaded into a Compaq Armada lap-top computer. For added security the database is also downloaded into a Zip disc and also into the main server at the RHS Headquarters in London. The enhanced computer facilities are now used to produce the bi-monthly lists of New Orchid Hybrids for publication in The Orchid Review and elsewhere and to satisfy the limited number of requests for bespoke listings of crossings from selected genera or from selected breeders.

Telecommunications have been expanded by the addition of a fax machine and a dedicated "orchid" telephone in the Registration Office. The Registrar's own personal computer now has e-mail facilities where messages received by the RHS for the Registration Office [orcreg@rhs.org.uk] are automatically forwarded.

The Registrar continued by re-iterating that the Registration Office has one full-time member of staff (Mrs. Doreen B. Hunt) and one part-time member (Peter F. Hunt) who will both be retiring, on age grounds, in March 2001. He then stressed that he did not work in isolation as he depended on several people and organizations and would like to acknowledge their very considerable help: Dr. Alan C. Leslie (Senior Registrar of the RHS) and Joyce Stewart (the Director of Horticulture, Science and Education), and their colleagues at the RHS Gardens at Wisley. He also acknowledged the help of the staff of the Information Technology Department of the RHS and their free-lance consultant Robert Hacker. Acknowledgement was also made of the help of Phillip Cribb as taxonomic consultant, and his colleagues, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Regarding the output of registration data the registrar said that there was a wide range of formats in which the names of orchid hybrids are officially published and that this was an international obligation for all registration authorities. The first place of publication of all new hybrid genera and grexes continued to be the List of New Orchid Hybrids published bi-monthly in The Orchid Review. This was reprinted in Die Orchidee, the American Orchid Society's Orchids, the Australian Orchid Review, and Orchids Australia, and recent developments had suggested that this list could also appear on the Internet. The American Orchid Society independently produces an annual paperback compilation, the "Bishop's Interim List of Orchid Hybrids", prepared by James R. Fisher in consultation with the Registrar.

The RHS is responsible for periodic addenda to Sander's List of Orchid Hybrids, and due very shortly is the next one, the 1996-1998 Addendum. The five-yearly addenda had become too unwieldy, and this was the reason why it was decided to produce an Addendum every three years in future.

An additional outlet was the Orchid Database Company Pte Ltd's (a joint RHS, AOS, Australian, and Singapore company) series of CD-ROMs. The latest edition was RHS Orchids 98 issued in October 1998. The registration data for these CD-ROMs are supplied by the Registration Office.

Registration data from selected genera can also be found on several sites on the Internet, the Registrar having approved their use of the data.

By the time the minutes of this meeting are circulated it is hoped that an abbreviated form of the complete International Orchid Register (with limited search facilities) will be accessible through the Royal Horticultural Society's website <www.rhs.org.uk>.

The Registrar concluded by mentioning several international developments which if implemented would certainly affect the work of the International Registration Authority for Orchid Hybrids. The introduction of a Biocode, integrating the botanical, zoological, and bacteriological code of nomenclature, and brought to our attention by Phillip Cribb at the last meeting of IOC in Brazil, has not yet materialized, but he was monitoring this unnecessary and potentially destabilizing development.

The threatened imposition of a new botanical requirement that all new hybrid generic names (which, unlike grex names, are governed by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature) will have to undergo a further time-consuming process of so-called "registration" by an outside botanical Registration Authority before they are considered legitimate for use by orchid growers was another development but unlikely to be implemented for many years if ever.

A positive development welcomed by the IRAOH was the work by a team of botanists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and other establishments, (including the orchid specialists Phillip Cribb, Mark Chase, and Alec Pridgeon) in the reclassification of the orchid family based on DNA analysis. Finally, the Registrar expressed the hope that this research would give a solid backing as to why he accepted a particular point of taxonomic view such as the various genera hitherto somewhat arbitrarily removed from Dendrobium or Odontoglossum as distinct entities.

6. Membership of International Orchid Commission

a. Deaths

There were no deaths to report of members serving for the 1996-1999 period, but Jack Greatwood who had been a member for many years and served as Secretary from 1984 to 1990 passed away in January 1998 at the age of 78.

b. Resignations

Several people had offered to resign their membership of the Commission. The Chairman accepted their resignations, thanking them for their past support and wishing them all success in their future activities. These were Christopher Bailes (UK), Christopher Brickell (UK), Kohji Karasawa (Japan), and Michael Tibbs (UK).

c. New Members

The following were elected as members of the Commission:

Henry Oakeley (UK)

Isaias Rolando (Peru)

Kamezo Saito (Japan)

d. Absentees

It was agreed that the members listed below would be written to by the Secretary and asked if they wished to remain as members of the Commission:

Peter Adams (Australia)

Andrew Easton (New Zealand)

Ed Meeuwisssen (Netherlands)

Rapee Sagarik (Thailand)

Stephan Schneckenburger (Germany)

Ryuso Tanaka (Japan)

e. Officers 1999-2002

On a proposal by Ernest Hetherington all officers were re-elected unanimously. The Chairman would search for a successor to the Secretary who would be retiring from the post in February 2000. It was agreed that a full list of IOC members, officers, and members of committee would be incorporated into these minutes (see agenda item 7 and Appendix A below).

7. Membership of Constituent Committees

a. Executive Committee

Chairman: Joyce Stewart

Vice-Chairmen: Vinciane Dumont, Sydney Monkhouse, Kiat Tan

Secretary: Peter Hunt

Members at Large: Phillip Cribb, Ernest Hetherington, Ned Nash, Yoshitaka Ueda

b. Specialist Committees

Conservation: Mark Chase, Phillip Cribb (Chairman), Robert Dressler, Vinciane Dumont, Eric Hagsater, Harold Koopowitz, Marcel Lecoufle, Alec Pridgeon, Joyce Stewart

Taxonomy and Nomenclature: Phillip Cribb, Robert Dressler, Peter Hunt, Alec Pridgeon (Chairman), Joyce Stewart

Handbook: Phillip Cribb, Peter Hunt (Chairman), Gerd Röllke, Joyce Stewart, Piers Trehane, Yoshitaka Ueda

8. Any Other Business

Sydney Monkhouse enquired if the prize of $15,000, donated several years ago by the late Eric Youngand administered by the American Orchid Society, for the first genetically engineered orchid hybrid to flower had been awarded. Peter Furniss, on behalf of the AOS, said that there had been a time limit on the prize and as it had not been claimed within that time the money involved had been used for research purposes.

The meeting closed at 15.08hrs.




Appendix A

Members of the International Orchid Commission

30 April 1999 to 17th WOC 2002

David Brown (USA)

Mark Chase (UK)

Phillip Cribb (USA)

Robert Dressler (USA)

Vinciane Dumont (Switzerland)

Peter Furniss (USA)

Don Gallagher (Australia)

Eric Hagsater (Mexico)

Cordelia Head (USA)

Ernest Hetherington (USA)

Peter Hunt (UK) - Secretary

Syoichi Ichihashi (Japan)

Harold Koopowitz (USA)

Marcel Lecoufle (France)

Philippe Lecoufle (France)

Emil Lückel (Germany)

Ian Melrose (Australia)

Gerald McCraith (Australia)

Sydney Monkhouse (Australia)

Alasdair Morrison (UK)

Ned Nash (USA)

Henry Oakeley (UK)

Alec Pridgeon (UK)

Jerry Rehfield (USA)

Isaias Rolando (Peru)

Gerd Röllke (Germany)

Kamezo Saito (Japan)

Joyce Stewart (UK) - Chairman

Kiat Tan (Singapore)

Wally Thomas (Canada)

Piers Trehane (UK)

Yoshitaka Ueda (Japan)


Title Page
Correction
Recent Nomenclature

20 January 2000.
© Copyright The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.