DO NOT MISS the 120 page book compiled by Michael Bishop:
The Orchids: An Illustrated Reference

Orchids in the Corpus
The complete listing from Michael Bishop
(but do not miss the illustrated book—click the link above!!)

(in chronological order of book publication)

I set out to make Julie an album containing a picture of each of the orchids mentioned in the NW stories. Found out lots of interesting things, such as some possibly imaginary names, erratic spellings, and lots of other flora names.

Anyway, one of the most challenging tasks in trying to complete the album was to find a complete list of the orchids mentioned in the Stout works. So, of course, that meant I had a challenge to do it up right.

I am sure that some of the more enthusiastic Wolfeans will find it interesting. And of course, I would like to know if I missed any orchids or made any mistakes.

[Novellas are bold/italics/indented; novels & novella collections are bold/underscored. Novella collections indicate the number of novellas included in the volume in parenthesis following the collection title.]

Fer-de-Lance
Angraecum sesquipedale
Cattleya dowiana aurea
Cymbidium Alexanderi
Cattleya
Laelia
Odontoglossum
Oncidium
Miltonia
Laeliocattleya Lustre
Brassocattlaelia Truffautiana 
Miltonia blueanaeximina
Dendrobium chlorostele
Cymbidium
Dendrobium Melpomene
Dendrobium Findlayanum

The League of Frightened Men
Cattleya
Odontoglossum
Miltonia
Brassocattlaelia Truffautiana
Dendrobium

The Rubber Band
Oncidium
Cattleya trianae
Odontoglossum
Miltonia
Cattleya
Laelia
Cymbidium
Laeliocattleya Lustre
Laeliocattleya

The Red Box
Coelogyne pandurata
Laeliacattleya luminosa aurea 
Cattleya

Too Many Cooks
none

Some Buried Caesar
Paphiopedilum lawrenceanum hyeanum
Paphiopedilum callosum sanderae    
Laeliocattleya
Odontoglossum<

Over My Dead Body
Odontoglossum
Dendrobium
Coelogyne
Miltonia
Lycaste
Cattleya
Oncidium

Where There's a Will
Cattleya Mossiae

Black Orchids (2)

Black Orchids
Brassocattlealia truffautiana
Brassocattlealia thorntoni
Cypripedium pubescens
Cypripedium Fissipes
Cymbidium Miranda
Phalaenopsis
Cattleya hassellis

Cordially Invited to Meet Death
Vanda

Not Quite Dead Enough (2)

Not Quite Dead Enough
none

Booby Trap
none

The Silent Speaker
Cattleya
Laeliocattleya
Brassocattleya thorntoni

Too Many Women
Miltonia
Phalaenopsis

And Be a Villain
Zygopetalum crinitum

Trouble in Triplicate (3)

Before I Die
Cattleya
Dendrobium
Phalaenopsis

Help Wanted, Male

Cattleya

Instead of Evidence

Dendrobium

The Second Confession
Dendrobium bensoniae
Odontoglossum harryanum

Three Doors to Death (3)

Man Alive
None

Omit Flowers
Miltonia roezlii

Door to Death
Odontoglossum cirrhosum
Odontoglossum nobile veitchianum
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite dayana
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite sanderiana
Miltonia

In the Best Families
Miltonia
Phalaenopsis
Vanda peetersiana

Curtains for Three (3)

The Gun With Wings<
None

Bullet for One
Zygopetalum
Renanthera
Odontoglossum

Disguise for Murder
Brassocattleya
Laeliocattleya
Miltonia
Odontoglossum
Cattleya dowiana
Dendrobium

Murder by the Book
Phalaenopsis
Cattleya
Dendrobium chrysotoxum
Cypripedium Lord Fisher
Dendrobium Cybele
Brassocattleya
Laeliocattleya
Cattleya Dionysius
Cattleya Katadin
Cattleya peetersi
Brassocattleya Calypso
Brassocattleya fournierae
Brassocattleya Nestor
Laeliocattleya barbarossa
Laeliocattleya Carmencita
Laeliocattleya St. Gothard
Oncidium varicosum
Oncidium
Oncidium Forbesi
Cypripedium Minos
Dendrobium
Cochlioda

Triple Jeopardy (3)

Home to Roost
Miltonia

The Cop Killer
none

The Squirt and the Monkey
none

Prisoner's Base
Cymbidium holfordianum
Cymbidium pauwelsi

The Golden Spiders
Vanda caerulea
Vanda
Brassavola
Miltonia roezlii
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite
Cattleya
Laelia
Miltonia roezlii alba

Three Men Out (3)

Invitation to Murder
none

The Zero Clue
Odontoglossum
Calanthe

This Won't Kill You
none

The Black Mountain
Laeliocattleya Jaquetta
Dendrobium nobilius

Before Midnight
Cattleya mossiae
Odontoglossum
Phalaenopsis
Cattleya mossiae reineckiana
Oncidium varicosum

Three Witnesses (3)

The Next Witness
none

When a Man Murders
none

Die Like a Dog
none

Might As Well Be Dead

Phalaenopsis stuartiana
Phalaenopsis schilleriana

Three for the Chair (3)

A Window for Death
none

Immune to Murder
none

Too Many Detectives
none

If Death Ever Slept

Cochlioda roezliana
Odontoglossum armainvillierense

And Four to Go (4)

Christmas Party
Odontoglossum

Easter Parade
Vanda
Vanda peetersiana
Vanda sandarae
Cattleya
Calanthe
Phalaenopsis

Fourth of July Picnic
Renanthera imschootiana 

Murder Is No Joke
Laelia gouldiana

Champagne for One
Coelogyne
Dendrobium
Renanthera
Odontoglossum
Miltonia
Phalaenopsis
Cattleya

Plot It Yourself
Cattleya gaskelliana alba
Cattleya mossiae wageneri  
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite 

Three at Wolfe's Door (3)

Poison a la Carte
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite 
Jack in the Pulpit

Method Three for Murder
none

The Rodeo Murder
none

Too Many Clients
Calanthe veitchi sandhurstiana
Lycaste delicatissima

The Final Deduction
Miltonia vexillaria
Oncidium marshallianum
Dendrobium chrysotoxum
Laelia purpurata
Miltonia roezlii

Homocide Trinity (3)

Eeny Meeny Murder Mo
none

Death of a Demon
Odontoglossum pyramus 

Counterfeit for Murder
Miltonia roezlii
Miltonia

Gambit
Laelia gouldiana

The Mother Hunt
Cypripedium lawrenceanum hyeanum   

Trio for Blunt Instruments (3)

Kill Now—Pay Later
none

Murder Is Corny
Dendrobium nobile
Oncidium
Laeliocattleya

Blood Will Tell
Cymbidium Doris

A Right to Die
Miltonia roezlii
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite  
Vanda suavis

The Doorbell Rang
Miltonia sanderae
Odontoglossum pyramus  
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite 
Oncidium flexuosum

Death of a Doxy
Odontoglossum hellemense
Odontoglossum harvengtense
Odontoglossum crispum
Vanda rogersi
Odontoglossum crispo-harryanum
Odontoglossum aireworthi
Miltonia vexillaria
Miltonia roezlii

The Father Hunt
Laelia schroederi
Laelia ashworthiana
Miltonia hellemense
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite
Miltonia charlesworthi
Odontoglossum pyramus
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite sanderiana

Death of a Dude
none

Please Pass the Guilt
Acampe pachyglossa
Peristeria elata
Broughtonia sanguinea
Dendrobium chrysotoxum

A Family Affair
none

Death Times Three (3)

Bitter End
none

Frame-up For Murder
Vanda
Miltonia

Assault on a Brownstone
none

 

Orchidus Completus

by Peter Darrell

ORCHID BOOK REF. QUOTE
Cattleya tianae Rubber Band Ch10 "As I was going out I stopped where Theodore Horstmann was turning out some old Cattleyas trianae and growled at him: ‘You're going to get shot in the gizzard.' I swear to God he looked pale."
Laeliocattleya Lustre Rubber Band Ch11 "A couple of boards had been laid along the top of long low wooden box which was filled with osmundine, and on the boards had been placed 35 or 40 pots of Laeliocattleya Lustre."
Vanda petersoama In the Best Families    
Cymbiduim Doris Blood Will Tell Ch1 "He had put a spray of Cymbiduim Doris in the vase on his desk and got his personal seventh of a ton disposed in his oversized custom-made chair, and was scowling at the dust jacket of a book, one of the items that had been addressed to him, when the phone rang and I got it."
Cypripedum Lord Fisher Murder by the Book    
Dendrobium cybele Murder by the Book Ch7 "No Cypripedum Lord Fischer, no Dendrobium Cybele, no---."
Cattleya Dionysius Murder by the Book  

 

Cattleya Katadin Murder by the Book    
Cattleya peetersi Murder by the Book    
Brassocattleya Calypso Murder by the Book    
Brassocattleya fourniearae Murder by the Book    
Brassocattleya Nestor MURD    
Laeliocattleya barbarossa Murder by the Book    
Laeliocattleya Carmencita Murder by the Book    
Laeliocattleya St. Gothard Murder by the Book    
Oncidium forbesi Murder by the Book Ch7 "I needed forty-eight, three apiece, but took a few extra because some were not perfect, mostly Cattleyas Dionysius, Katadin and peetersi, Brassocattleyas Calypso, fournierae and Nestor, and Laeliocattleyas barbarossa, Carmencita and St. Gothard."
Oncidium varicossum Murder by the Book Ch7 "Look at this Oncidium varicosum," he grumbled. "Dry rot in April. It has never happened before and there is no explanation."
Paphiopedilum lawrenceanmu hyeanum Some Buried Caesar    
Calanthe veitchi sandhustiana Too Many Clients    
Lycaste delicatissima Too Many Clients    
Dendrobium nobile Murder is Corny Ch2 "I went to Wolfe's desk and got the vase of orchids, Dendrobium nobile that day, removed the flowers and put them on my desk pad, went to her, got fingers under her chin and forced her head up, and sloshed her good."
Miltonia roezli Counterfeit for Murder Ch5 "It isn't easy to pass down the aisles of those three rooms without stopping, even in an emergency, but that time I stopped only once, where a group of Miltonia roezlis were sporting more than fifty racemes on four feet of bench. It was the best crop of Miltonias Wolfe (and Theodore) had ever had."
Odontoglossum pyramus Death of a Demon Ch6 "In the morning Wolfe came down from the plant rooms at eleven o'clock as usual, and as usual I had the mail opened and the dusting done and fresh water in the vase on his desk. He went first to the front of the desk to put a spray of orchids in the vase, Odontoglossum Pyramus, then circled around to his chair."
Maltonia Sanderae (Miltonia Sanerae) Doorbell Rang    
Odontoglossum Pyramus Doorbell Rang Ch9 "He sat, forked a mussel to his mouth, used his tongue and teeth on it, swallowed, nodded and said, ‘Mr. Hewitt has bloomed four crosses between Maltonia Sanderae and Odontoglossum Pyramus. One of them is worth naming.'"
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite Doorbell Rang    
Oncidium flexuosum Doorbell Rang Ch11 He told Wolfe he was extremely sorry, he apologized, but he would be able to include only twelve Phalaenopsis Aphrodite in the shipment instead of twenty, and no Oncidium flexuosum at all.
Angraecum sesquipedale Fer-de-Lance Ch2 "He said without looking up, ‘Pray for this side, Archie. If it's this one we shall have an Angræcum sesquipedale for Christmas.' "
Brassocattlaelais truffautianas League of Frightened Men ChXVI

"No. Fritz has aired it, and the heat is on; it has been properly prepared, even to brassocattlaelais truffautianas in the bowl."

(This is the first and only mention of orchids in the south room and the first and only mention of a bowl for an orchid in the brownstone.)

Dendrobium chrystoxum Final Deduction  

 

Laelia purpurata Final Deduction Ch6 "Dendrobium chrysotoxum for Miss Gillard and Laelia purpurata for Doctor Vollmer."
Miltonia vexillaria Final Deduction Ch2 "That day's orchids were a raceme of Miltonia vexillaria brought by him as usual when he had come down from the plant rooms at eleven o'clock."
Oncidium marshallianum Final Deduction Ch3 "Wolfe had come down from the plant rooms and gone to his desk, put a spray of Oncidium marshallianum in the vase, torn yesterday from his desk calendar, and gone through the mail, and was dictating a long letter to an orchid collector in Guatemala."
Miltonia roezli Final Deduction Ch11 "It was nearer fifteen minutes than ten when the sound came of the elevator, and Wolfe entered, a spray of Miltonia roezli in his left hand and the Sunday Times under his right arm."

 

Laelia gouldiana Gambit Ch6 "He entered, with the days desk orchids as usual, said good morning, went and put the branch of Laelia gouldiana in the vase, sat, glanced through the morning mail, focused on me and demanded ‘Where is she?' "
Miltonia roezli Gambit    
Phalaenopsis Aphrodite Gambit Ch6 "I went up the three flights and through the aluminum door into the vestibule, and the door to the warm room, where the Miltonia roezli and Phalaenopsis Aphrodite were in full bloom."
Vanda caerulea Gambit Ch3: "Some guy on Long Island wanted to know if we could let him have three plants in bloom of Vanda caerulea."
Laelia gouldiana Murder Is No Joke Ch1 He opened his eyes. ‘I'm quite aware of it,' he growled. ‘Confound it. Bring me the records on Laelia gouldiana.'
Renanthera imschootiana Fourth of July Picnic Ch? "Afraid, by heaven, afraid to go into the tropical room to look over the Renanthera imschootiana!"
Cypridium lawrencaenum hyeanum Mother Hunt Ch4

"As I approached he turned his head and growled, 'Well?'

He is supposed to be interrupted up there only in an emergency.

'Nothing urgent,' I said. 'Just to tell you that I'm taking a Cypripedium lawrenceanum hyeanum -- one flower. To wear. A woman phoned about buttons, and when I meet her at twelve-thirty it will mark me.' "

Cattleya mossiae reineckiana Before Midnight Ch7 "Up in the plant rooms on the roof it was Cattleya mossiae time. Of Wolfe's fourteen varieties of mossiae my favorite was reineckiana, with its white, yellow, lilac and violet."
Miltonia roezli Omit Flowers Ch8 "Wolfe was in the intermediate room inspecting some two year Miltonia roezlis."
Laeliocattleya luminosa aurea Red Box    
Miltonia roezli Right to Die Ch5 "When he entered the office, naturally he didn't offer a hand, since he knows that Wolfe is not a shaker, but before he lowered his fanny onto the red leather chair he uttered a polite greeting and actually made a try at being sociable by asking, 'And how are the orchids?'

Wolfe's brows went up. 'Passable, thank you. A pot of Miltonia roezli has fourteen scapes.'

'Is that so?'"

Phalaenopsis Aphrodite Right to Die Ch9 "It was useless to try to start conversation until he had put a spray of Phalaenopsis aphrodite in the vase and glanced through the mail."
Vanda suavis Right to Die Ch12 "He put a raceme of Vanda suavis in the vase, sat, and started looking through the mail, no hurry. 'Take your time,' Cramer said, icy. 'Take my time. We've got all day. . .'"
Dendrobium bensoniae Second Confession Ch2 "Of course I saw it every day, and I had business on my mind, but even so I slowed up as I passed a bench of white and yellow Dendrobium bensoniae that were just at their peak."
Odontoglossum harryanum Second Confession   "Finally Wolfe got to where a dozen Odontoglossum harryanum, his current pride and joy, were kept.
Brassocattleya thortoni

Silent Speaker

 

Ch? "By God," I said when I could speak, "he brought you an orchid." "Brassocattleya Thorntoni," Wolfe purred. "Handsome."

Orchid Namesakes of Nero Wolfe & Friends

This is a list the of orchids named for corpus characters as found on the Royal Horticultural Society's list of named hybrids.

HelleborinePhalaenopsis  Nero Wolfe
Seed Parent:  Phalaenopsis  Jean McPherson
Pollen Parent: Phalaenopsis Sidney Wittorf
Registrant/Originator:  Zuma Canyon
Date of registration: 01/11/81

Pleione Nero Wolfe
Seed Parent: Pleione praecox
Pollen Parent: Pleione bulbocodioides
Registrant/Originator: Pinkepank
Date of registration:  01/01/85

Brassolaelia Nero Woolf
Seed Parent: Laelia xanthina
Pollen Parent: Brassavola glauca
Registrant: Funston
Originator: Rivermont
Date of registration: 01/01/76

Epidendrum Archie Goodwin
Seed Parent: Epidendrum megalanthum
Pollen Parent: Epidendrum dichromum
Registrant/Originator: Thoms
Date of registration: 11/04/91

Pleione Archie Goodwin
Seed Parent: Pleione bulbocodioides
Pollen Parent: Pleione yunnanensis
Registrant/Originator: Pinkepank
Date of registration: 01/01/88

Sally Colt Phal.
Lin Jessica x Dtps. Elmore's Sweetheart A.Pickrel (Breckinridge)

Saul Panzer Phal.
Fortune Buddha x Dtps. Taisuco Melody A.Pickrel (Breckinridge)

Why Nero Wolfe Likes Orchids

Life Magazine, 15 September, 1963

by Archie Goodwin
Why Nero Wolfe Likes Orchids


When people ask me why Nero Wolfe grows orchids I ask them which they are interested in, orchids or him. If they ask what difference that makes, I say it makes all the difference. If they are curious about orchids, the best and simplest answer is to take them up to the plant rooms, but if they're curious about Nero Wolfe, there are a dozen different answers and they are all complicated."

Wolfe's flowers go all they way from the showiest to the shyest. He has a Cattleya hybrid, bred by him, which threw it's first flower last year, that is twice as gaudy as anything you ever saw in a florist shop, and he has a Cymbidium hybrid, ensifolium x Sanderae, bred by him in 1953, so coy that it makes one little flower each year: off-white, the size of a dime, hidden down in the foliage. Once I saw him scowling at it and muttering, "Confound you, are you too timid or too proud?"

If he ever talks to himself he keeps it strictly private, but I have often heard him talk to orchids. He'll cock his head at a bench of Miltonias in full bloom and say distinctly, "Much too loud. Why don't you learn to whisper?" Not that he ever whispers.

Wolfe started on orchids many years ago with a specimen plant of Vanda suavis, given to him by the wife of a man he had cleared on a murder rap. He kept it in the office and it petered out. He got mad, built a little shed on the roof and bought 20 plants. Now the plant rooms are 34x86, the size of the house. He hasn't bought a plant from a commercial grower for 10 years, but he sells some --- a hundred or more a year.

Of the four hours a day he spends up in the plants rooms --- 9 to 11 in the morning and 4 to 6 in the afternoon --- not more than 20 minutes is spent looking at flowers. First he makes a tour through the aisles, which are 30 inches wide instead of the usual two feet --- the tropical room, the intermediate, and the cool --- and then on to the potting room. He nods to Theodore, the gardener, and says, "Well?" Theodore says either, "Well enough," or something like, "A pod of Coelogyne will be ready in two days."

Then work. It may be real work, like bringing a dozen old plants from one of the rooms for dividing and repotting, or opening a bale of osmunda fiber and inspecting it; or it may be merely getting a tape and going to the cool room to measure the panicles of Odontoglossums. It can be any of the thousand chores that orchids take --- mixing fertilizer, labeling, presoaking new pots, checking ventilation and humidity, adjusting shade screens, stripping bulb sheaths, chipping charcoal, and so forth, forever and ever with no amen. Except spraying. Wolfe hates it, and Theodore does it when he's not there.

Of course, most of the chores are for breeding, not growing. Buying a dozen or so orchid plants and keeping them going and blooming in a house or apartment is no trick at all, but hybridizing is a career. Usually an orchid flower is both male and female, so deciding on father and mother is up to Nero Wolfe. Having cross-pollenated, he waits seven months to a year for the seed pod to mature and ripen. A large pod will have a million or more seeds. They are among the smallest of all plant seeds.

The preparations in a hospital operating room for an appendectomy are nothing compared to the fuss of planting a batch of orchid seed. What Wolfe has to keep out is fungus. If one microscopic fungus cell gets in a bottle with the seed, it goes to work on the nutrient jelly in which the infant flower is planted, and goodbye seed. If he does it right and is lucky, in nine or 10 months he scoops the tiny half-inch seedlings out of the bottle and plants them in community pots. A year later he transplants them to individual three-inch pots and in another two years to 4½-inch pots, and crosses his fingers. Then five or six or seven years since the day he put pollen to stigma, he sees an orchid no one ever saw before. It is different from any orchid that has ever bloomed, including those in the Garden of Eden. The differences may be very slight, or there may be flaws, but about once in every five times his orchid will be worthy of dad and mom, and there is one chance in ten thousand that it will be a absolute stunner. Since he has seen only a fraction of the many thousands of named and listed hybrids, he can't be sure until the day some grower takes a long hard look at his baby and says casually, "Interesting little plant. I'll give you $400 for it." Then he'll know that in a few years orchid catalogues will list one more named for him, or at least by him.

In the past 20 years Nero Wolfe has had that happen 14 times, and he has on his benches a total of 112 unnamed varieties bred by him and good enough to keep. Okay, that's very satisfactory, and it's one of the reasons he grow orchids; but it's not the main one. He grows orchids chiefly for the same reason that he wears bright yellow shirts: for the color.

I said he spends only 20 minutes of the four hours looking at flowers, but that's a lot. Anyway he gets some special kind of kick from color. He says you don't look at color, you feel it, and apparently he thinks that really means something.

It doesn't to me, but maybe it does to you and you know exactly how he feels as he opens the door to the plant rooms and walks in on the big show. I have never known a day when less than a hundred plants were in bloom, and sometimes there are a thousand, from the pure white of dainty little Dendrobium nobile virginalis to the yellow-tan-bronze-mahogany-purple of big and gaudy Laelia tenebrosa. It is unquestionably worth a look --- or, if you react the same way Wolfe does, a feel.

One question I don't know the answer to and can only guess at is why he cuts the ones he brings down to the office every morning for the vase on his desk. Why not bring the plant, since then the flowers would be good for another week or more? Because he would have to take it back up again? No; he could just add that to my daily chores. Because he thinks that particular spike or raceme has been around long enough? No; sometimes it will be a very special item, like the dwarf Vanda with green dots that a commercial grower offered him $1,200 for. Because he hates to carry things? That could be, but he carries plenty of them from the growing rooms to the potting rooms and back again. The best guess is that he doesn't want to give a plant a shadow of an excuse not to go on blossoming at peak efficiency. If a Zygopetalum has a cluster of eight flowers this year, and next year only six, it could blame it on the day in the office --- not enough light and the temperature and humidity wrong; and although you can say pfui to an orchid plant, and Wolfe often does, there's no real satisfaction in it.

How does he decide each morning which one he will cut for his desk vase that day? I have had various theories, but none of them has stood up. One was that it depended on the bank balance. If the balance was high, say 50 grand, he would pick something extra flashy; if it was low, down to four figures, it would be something subdued like a brown speckled Dendrobium. That theory lasted three days. When I told him about it he grunted and said, "The flower a woman chooses depends on the woman. The flower a man chooses depends on the flower."