Guest Author - Susan Taylor
The new version of OrchidWiz, version 7.0, is now available and offers many new features. As always it is easy to install even for non-technical people with clear directions and available in either DVD or CD-ROM format. If you had a previous version of the software and added your plants in the Journal feature, all of them are imported when you upgrade. You can add plants and your own digital photos very easily and this is a great feature.
Unfortunately, due to problems with the AOS, all award photos have been removed, but many have been replaced by individual pictures and now it's possible to view a slide show of images available. This version has added more than 18,000 new images and now has over 56,000 images in total. The award information is up-to-date for both the AOS and the RHS. Much work has been done with the Orchid Council of New Zealand and the South African Orchid Council to compile lists and photographs from those areas.
A new search feature allows you to choose a group, such as Cattleya, and then drill down by typing in the search area. This worked very well for me when I tested it and makes for much easier searches than earlier versions. Another new feature is the ability to go to the Start screen and use a Refresh button to bring up a listing of the 100 last orchids you researched. I really like this since it keeps you from having to do a complete new search.
One of the most interesting features for me is the addition of the Species By Region area. This is truly fascinating for orchid species enthusiasts. You can chose a region of the world, such as Africa and see all the orchid species which grow there. The only problem I had with the map was not know exactly which region you were going to get when clicking on an icon on the world map. For the US, there are state-by-state listings of native orchids with pictures.
From any area within the program, you have the ability to drill down to any orchid to get more specific information as well as growing requirements with flowering times, temperature requirements, descriptions of the flowers and inflorescence, and pseudobulbs and leaves. The growing information for species is from the Orchid Species Culture pages by Charles Baker. The new version has all the information on one page as well as keeping the earlier Culture Pages which has information on blooming times and more detailed temperature information for species.