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Orchids in Academia

March 26, 2010

At Michigan State University in the suburb of East Lansing, you can find an impressive orchid collection, along with a lot of orchid knowledge.

Their Orchid Research Program under the Department of Horticulture began in 2000. Recognizing the global importance of orchids as potted flowering plants, they initiated the research program with the goal of elucidating the flowering requirements for several orchid species. They hoped to use the information to develop necessary production protocols for commercial growers. Their website provides a summary of the economic importance of orchids, justification of their research program, research objectives, and a description of their available facilities.

The Greenhouse Coordinator for the MSU Botanical Teaching Collection, Jannes Szyren, is well known for her work with orchids throughout the Michigan orchid community and beyond. She has accumulated over thirteen prestigious cultural awards from the American Orchid Society, including the 2002 Benjamin Kodama Award for most outstanding member of the Dendrobium Alliance. Moreover, Szyren is an active author with published articles in Orchids (The Magazine of the American Orchid Society), International Pleurothallid News & Views, and local society newsletters. She also serves as a guest lecturer for orchid society meetings across the United States and Canada.

Ms. Szyren holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture with a minor in Botany from Michigan State University. She is an active member of the Red Cedar Botanical Society, Greater Lansing Orchid Society, and American Orchid Society, for which she also is an student judge.

Though their orchid collection is not generally open for visitors, arrangements can be made. In the meantime, you can peruse their websites to see beautiful photos of orchids, learn from their research papers or discover how you can contribute to their work.