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Dr James Brasch


Jim Brasch, founder and director of Plant Hormones Canada, has been growing orchids for about 30 years and is particularly interested in species of the New World. He grows orchids in a hobby greenhouse and under many banks of lights.

When the challenge of saving the extinct and sterile Phalaenopsis intermedia var Diezii arrived, he began his research. After managing to clone the plant with the use of hormones to his satisfaction he began to make the hormone paste available to a wide range of friends and eventually to the orchid world through the development of Plant Hormones Canada, providing a range of products designed to propagate (clone) plants from the wild and rescue those which are endangered by human collection or error. This allows the hobby grower and the researcher to multiply rare plants on a limited scale. His ads have been seen continuously for about 15 years in pages of The Bulletin of The American Orchid Society, now ORCHIDS

Although Jim has some serious reservations about CITES legislation and implementation, he has found it more useful to develop programs for the cloning of endangered species and the preservation of endangered species. This has led to his role in the founding and development of the New World Species Orchid Collection at the Royal Botanical Gardens, (P O Box 399, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3H8.) In this role he coordinates the activities of the Orchid society of the RBG with the administration of the RBG.

Extensive travels in his professional life (teaching American literature in American and Canadian and Chinese Universities) have allowed him to study orchids in a variety of habitats. He has been especially interested in the orchids of Nigeria, Austria, and China as well as Florida, Brazil, and Venezuela in the New World. He continually seeks out orchids in Ontario and has several “rescued” plants growing in his garden. He has lectured widely on plant regulators and collecting activities in Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Venezuela and various universities as well as botanical gardens in Niagara Falls, Linz, Kentucky and Toronto. Jim also teaches two courses at the Royal Botanical Gardens: 1) “Getting Started with Orchids” and 2) “Intermediate Orchid Growing.”

He was instrumental in forming a flasking group recently as a means to increasing the variety and size of the New World Orchid Species Collection at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Hopefully specimens propagated fromthe collection in the RBG will be made available to hobby growers across Canada.

Publications (Orchids)

“Orchid Collecting in Nigeria,” Bulletin of the American Orchid Society, Vol 43, No. 10, October, 1974, pp. 899-905.

“Canadian Orchid Culture: Water Quality,” The Canadian Orchid Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1981, pp. 5-8.

“Chysis,” The Canadian Orchid Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer, 1981, pp. 33-35.

“Poor Water Quality–An Orchid Menace,” Bulletin of the American Orchid Society, Vol 51, No. 8, August, 1982, pp., 836-841.

“You Can ‘Meristem’ with Hormones,” Bulletin of the American Orchid Society, Vol 49, No. 10, October 1980, pp. 1123-1132. (with Ivan Kocsis)

“Plant Growth Regulators: Understanding the ABCs of these chemicals can aid in your attempts to propagate orchids,” Orchids, Vol 69, No. 3, March, 2000, pp. 251-257.

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