Journal Number 89
December 2003


Bob Goodger with wife Beryl
Bob Goodger
of Tauranga died on 9 August. Bob was a keenly observant New Zealand native orchid enthusiast and expert photographer.

For many issues his photographic art graced the back covers of Orchids in New Zealand, and he has left a legacy of beautiful macrophotography in the NZ Native Orchid Journal and other publications, and with the Orchid Society of NZ.

We extend our sympathy to Beryl. Bruce Irwin has written a tribute
(see Original papers, this issue).


The Resolute Dame Ella Campbell...
(From Massey News 8 August, 2003)

One of the University's most illustrious daughters was farewelled last week. Renowned botanist Dame Ella Campbell died in Palmerston North on 24 July at the age of 93.

She was the University's first woman staff member and the only woman staff member for many years. She joined Massey in March 1945, lecturing horticulture and agriculture students about plant morphology and anatomy.

Her primary interest was the study of liverworts. Her vast collection of the species is held at the University's herbarium, named the Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium in a ceremony earlier this year, attended by Dame Ella.

  Dame Ella Campbell

Dame Ella travelled widely overseas in pursuit of liverworts and also became an internationally
accredited orchid judge. She was multi-lingual, and once delivered a speech in German at the
300th anniversary of the Berlin Botanical gardens.

She remained on the teaching staff of the University until her 'retirement' in 1976 but continued
to work as a research associate in the Ecology building for more than two decades, publishing a
substantial volume of work before finally retiring at age 90. She was awarded a DSc from the
University of Otago and Fellowship of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture in 1976.

She became a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997, as "a pioneer in the field
of university botanic research," and received the Massey Medal in 1992.

Ella Campbell wrote five papers on the mycorrhizal associations of New Zealand's achlorophyllous mycotrophic terrestrial orchids, Gastrodia cunninghamii, G. aff. sesamoides, G. minor, Molloybas cryptanthus and Danhatchia australis. This work was very highly regarded internationally - Ed.

Don't eat orchid tubers!  A large population of Epipactis atropurpureum on 40-year-old zinc wastes in Chrzanow, southern Poland, where the soil contained high concentrations of cadmium, lead and zinc, was studied for heavy metal content and mycorrhizal development.

Rhizomes of the orchid contained extremely high levels of these heavy metals, and the copper content was five times higher then that found in the soil. Heavy metal contents in rhizomes were 10 times (zinc) to 100 times (lead, cadmium) higher than in the shoots. These results suggested the accumulation and biofiltering of metals within rhizomes. But how?

E. atropurpureum almost always has mycorrhizal roots: the fungus penetrates the rhizome forming complex hyphal coils. Most of the toxic elements had accumulated in the fungal coils in the rhizomes: lead, iron, zinc, calcium, sulphur and aluminium were in much higher concentrations in the fungal coils than in the surrounding cells.

Mycorrhizal fungi may play an important role in heavy metal sequestration and detoxification, allowing the plant to survive in extremely polluted places.

 - J. Mesjasz-Przybylowicz, W.J. Przybylowicz, B. Godzik, K. Turnau. 37th Microscopy Society of South Africa Conference, Johannesburg, 2 - 4 December 1998. Proceedings - Vol.28, p. 64.

You can buy an "authoritative interactive CD-ROM called Orchidopaedia, which is an illustrated reference guide for the professional and amateur grower, with the equivalent of more than 1000 pages of text and more than 550 colour images, with links to important resource material world-wide.

We can fill orders directly from our site at and can supply it postage paid to NZ for AU$90 or NZ$103".

Rhizoma Gastrodiae

The oriental herb "Gastrodia Tuber" (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) is found in Sichuan, Yunnan andGuizhou provinces, China. It tastes sweet, has neutral properties, and is said to have the following medicinal effects: "Relieves convulsion, clams the liver (I think that should be 'calms' - Ed.) and relieves pain. Use in infantile convulsion (with uncaria stem, antelope's horn and scorpion), headache and light-headedness (with uncaria stem, scutellaria root and achyranthes root), chronic headache and recurrent migraine (with chuanxiong rhizome). Dosage & administration: 3-10g (boiled in water for oral use).

Dr Subhuti Dharmanand  PhD, Director of the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Portland, Oregon wrote in 1998:

Gastrodia elataGastrodia refers to the tuber of an orchid, Gastrodia elata (photo right). This plant has an unusual requirement forsurvival: it must have the Armillaria mellea mushroom mycelia incorporated into the tuber in order to maintain its maturation and growth, and it requires another fungus, Mycena osmundicola, to sprout the seeds. When supplies of the crude gastrodia became rare in the 1970s, attempts at cultivating the herb repeatedly failed until this complex synergistic plant/mushroom relationship was determined. Then, cultivation became easy, though it was not until the late 1980s that an adequate cultivated supply of Gastrodia was developed.

Interestingly, the medicinal benefits of Gastrodia were found to be mainly the metabolites of the Armillaria mushroom. In other words, if one could grow the mushroom, the Gastrodia tuber could be dispensed with and one could use just the mushroom material in place of Gastrodia. This mushroom cultivation (by batch fermentation) was accomplished and the material was tested in the 1970s; today Gastrodia mushroom (Armillaria) is frequently used instead of cultivated Gastrodia. In the meantime, wild Gastrodia, along with all other wild orchids, has been put on the endangered species list.

Gastrodia was listed in the ancient Shennong Bencao Jing (ca. 100 A.D.) and was later classified by
Tao Hong as a superior herb, meaning that it could be taken for a long time to protect the health and prolong life (as well as treating illnesses). It was originally called chiqian, meaning red arrow, because of its red stem shaped like an arrow. Later it was named tianma, or heavenly hemp (ma, usually translated as hemp, refers to many plants that have fibrous stems, such as the well-known mahuang).

The traditional use of Gastrodia is to calm internal wind and dispel invading wind, and invigorate
circulation in the meridians; thereby treating headache, dizziness, vertigo, convulsions, paralysis,
and arthralgia. In the book Chinese English Manual of Commonly-Used Herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the three basic indications are reduced to this elaborated pair: Calm the liver wind: For syndrome of liver-wind stirring inside, such as infantile convulsion, tetanus, epilepsy, as well as dizziness and headache due to excess of liver yang or the attack of wind-phlegm; recently it is also used for treatment of neurasthenia, nervous headache, and hypertension; expel wind evil and alleviate pain: for migraine, arthralgia due to wind-dampness, numbness of extremities, and general fatigue.

According to research reports, the main active ingredients include gastrodin, a complex glycoside,
plus vanillyl alcohol and vanillin, which, as their names suggest, are related to the flavour vanilla
(vanilla comes from the fruit of another orchid, Vanilla planifolia, and the primary flavor is vanillin,
which is synthetically produced as the standard flavor substitute). Vanillin has been shown to have anticonvulsive effects. There have been numerous other compounds identified in both Armillaria and the gastrodia tuber, with roles that are not yet established.

The gastrodia mushroom, Armillaria (also listed as Armillariella), is known in China as tianma
mihuanjun. Like many other medicinal mushrooms, Armillaria contains immune-enhancing
polysaccharides, but the amount of the gastrodia mushroom usually ingested is not sufficient to
provide a substantial immune-enhancing action. Gram for gram, the armillaria mushroom is more
potent than the gastrodia tuber, mainly because it is the primary source of the active constituents.
An exact quantitative comparison has not been determined, and may vary with the different therapeutic applications, but, generally speaking, the dosage of armillaria to be used is about half that of gastrodia tuber.

Because these products are safe to use, armillaria can be used in the same amount as the gastrodia rhizome it replaces in order to attain superior effects. Gastrodia tuber is traditionally given in decoction in doses of 3-10 grams per day; the gastrodia mushroom (fermentation product) or gastrodia tuber is given in the form of a powder in doses of 1.0-1.5 each time, 2-3 times per day (total dosage of 2.0-4.5 grams/day).

According to Icones of Medicinal Fungi, Armillaria fermentation products "are found to produce satisfactory effect in treatment of dizziness caused by hypertension, insufficient blood supply to the arteries' cone base, Meniere's syndrome, as well as functional disorders in autonomic nervous system. They are also effective in improving numbed limbs, insomnia, tinnitus, epilepsy, vascular headache, and apoplectic sequela (post-stroke syndrome)."

The Advanced Textbook on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology mentions that "This herb is mild, and can subdue hyperactive liver yang, eliminate wind, and remove obstruction in the collaterals, and is indicated for all kinds of wind syndromes, either cold or heat type or due to internal or external wind. For such cases, it is combined with other herbs according to the specific conditions.

It is an important herb to treat dizziness." Examples of combining gastrodia with other herbs include these, from the Textbook: For dizziness and headache due to hyperactive liver yang, combine with uncaria and haliotis. For upward disturbance of wind-phlegm, combine with pinellia and atractylodes. For migraine, combine with cnidium. For convulsion due to irritation by liver wind, combine with antelope horn and uncaria. For tetanus (tonic convulsion, a wind-phlegm disorder due to external wind) combine with arisaema and siler. To relieve wind and remove obstruction in the collaterals (luo vessels), producing rheumatic pain and numbness of the limbs, combine with chin-chiu, chiang-huo, and achyranthes.

... and they say doctors talk mumbo-jumbo - Ed.

Even in northern Europe the extended la Nina phenomenon created an extreme summer; a Scandinavian correspondent to wrote,

"Again it has been a great summer although many orchids were small, perhaps because of a very cold winter. I travelled in Estonia (for example Dactylorhiza ruthei, D. praetermissa, Cephalanthera rubra, Anacamptis pyramidalis, plenty of Dac. hybrids, many other exciting species), and in Finland in the following places: in Oulanka national park in bloom Calypso bulbosa, Listera cordata & many others not blooming; in DragsfjÀrd coast the only Finnish D. baltica, not yet blooming in late June; in Savonlinna Calypso bulbosa was the most important one, also many others. These are the most important ones.
I still should go and photo Epipogiums this week".

Reply: ". last Sunday I visited a site where this orchid is to be found almost every year and so also this day but it was already fading. So do not wait too long until you go to your site. I guess that the very warm summer and here in the southern part of Sweden even enough rain has given an early flowering time for Epipogium".

Reply: "I went to see the Epipogiums today (8 August), but in this area, the soil was quite dry, and besides dryness there was also some trees cut down in past few years. So even with a guide I was unable to find it (my guide had seen it in these same places, on 9 August some 5 years ago, lots of specimens and it is known to bloom in this area regularly, almost every year). I will go back in some other year with more moisture. Its been very dry: while I drove back home from my trip, I was able to see small woods of Alnus that had totally lost their leaves, even many birches (Betula) had nearly no leaves left... and there is almost no mushrooms. This is one of those years when Epipogium should not be tried to find. My teacher didn't find it from her cabin's woods, and one scientist who knows a place with more than 100 Epipogiums saw only 7 plants this year. I have been lucky enough to see this plant last year. It was much earlier, in mid-July, and many plants had ended blooming (actually one specimen was not open yet, but most were good".

(The European Epipogium aphyllum is, as are our Gastrodia, an achlorophyllous leafless ground orchid - it is called the "Ghost orchid" in UK because it is so pale, so fleeting in its appearance, and so hard to find-Ed.)




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