Native Orchid News:
The Newsletter of Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
Volume 11 Issue 1   February 2009
ISSN 1499-5476

Golden bean - photo by Eugene Reimer Native Orchid Conservation Inc
117 Morier Ave, Winnipeg MB R2M0C8

For more information contact Doris Ames at 204-947-9707 or e-mail

AGM Reminder:
Friday, February 27, 2009

Plant of the Month:
Golden Bean (Thermopsis rhombifolia)


President's Report - by Doris Ames

Our next annual general meeting is planned for Friday, February 27, 2009.  At that time we will have a business meeting and elections to the board of directors. 

Long-time NOCI member, Iris Reimer, our current treasurer and field-trip coordinator will not be running for the board again and I would like to thank her for all the excellent work she has done for NOCI in every capacity.  She is also a fun member and friend to have along on any occasion and I hope we will continue to see her at NOCI events and field trips whenever she has time out from all her other activities. 

There are three vacancies to be filled on the board and the newsletter includes the biographies of those people who have allowed their names to stand for election.  Nominations from the floor are encouraged.  Members in good standing are eligible to vote.  Please renew your membership now if you have not already done so.  If you want more information you may contact the nomination chair, Richard Reeves, at 661-0879. 

Members will also be asked to vote on proposed amendments to the NOCI bylaws at this meeting.  See list of amendments elsewhere in this issue. 

The meeting and elections will be followed by some great entertainment.  There will be a slide show on Manitoba Wildflowers by NOCI member Marilyn Latta, refreshments, silent auction, etc.  See Peggy's write-up elsewhere in the newsletter.  You will also have a chance to sign up for the upcoming photo clinic with NOCI member Bill Bremner.  If you have any items to donate to the Silent Auction or raffle please let Peggy know at 261-9179. 

I have two additional items of good news.  Debwendon Inc has finally attained Charity Status.  And the Manitoba Orchid Show will be held March 27-29th at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory; the theme is "Tropical Treasures". 

See you all at the meeting! 

Annual General Meeting

Native Orchid Conservation Inc is holding its eleventh Annual General Meeting on Friday, February 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm at the Manitoba Lawn Bowling Centre, 1212 Dakota Street in St.Vital. 

In addition to the annual board-of-directors election and business meeting, we will have some great entertainment as well as our popular silent auction, door prizes, and refreshments!  We are very honoured to have Marilyn Latta who will present "Manitoba Wildflowers from A-Z". 

All welcome but only members in good standing may vote in the election.  For more information contact Peggy at 261-9179 (leave message) or email  Hope to see you there! 

Information on Candidates

Peggy Bainard Acheson, a graduate of the Environmental Science program at the University of Manitoba, has been a director of NOCI and its Membership Chair for ten years.  She has organized the annual Members' Night and AGM, arranging for speakers, as well as advertising and promotion.  As a field-trip leader, she enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors while helping to conserve habitat for native orchids.  Peggy works full time in the environmental industry.  Her other interests include cross-country skiing, hiking, the arts, and reading. 

John E Neufeld is a lawyer and has served as a director for the past ten years.  He has been on the constitution amendment committee and has worked with Peggy to arrange the successful Members Nights.  He is the current Vice-president.  John is a frequent field-trip leader with a great interest in orchids and photography. 

John W Dyck grew up on a farm in the Municipality of Franklin in southern Manitoba where he spent much time enjoying the beautiful Roseau River.  He served on the executive of the Manitoba Fly Fishers Association from 1982 to 2000 including six years as president.  While with the MFFA he was involved in some stream rehabilitation work on the Lonesands Project and Whiteshell River Project.  In 2004 John joined the Franklin Crow Wing Trail committee on which he still serves.  Having discovered NOCI and its work in protecting native plants and flowers, John attended a meeting and joined NOCI in 2006.  He enjoys meeting new people and learning new things on NOCI field trips, and especially likes the NOCI mandate to identify, inventory, and protect the special habitats that plants like the native orchids need to survive. 

Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws of NOCI

The following are proposed amendments to our current Bylaws that were adopted by the members at the AGM in 2003 and which can be read at

In 11.2, replace "Secretary" with "Membership-chair", replace "each member" with "each voting member in good standing", so that 11.2 becomes:

11.2  The Membership-chair shall attempt in good faith to send notice to each voting member in good standing at the last known address of the member; however, the absence of notice to any such member shall not invalidate the meeting nor any business conducted thereat. 

In 15.3, replace "7" with "9", so that 15.3 becomes:

15.3  The Board of Directors shall consist of 9 members until such a time as the number of Directors is changed in accordance with these Bylaws. 

In 16, replace "a Nominating Committee consisting of at least 2 members" with "a member in good standing to be the Nominating-Committee-chair", replace "Secretary" with "newsletter-editor", and add 2 sentences to the end, so that 16 becomes:

16.  At least 2 months prior to the election, the Board shall appoint a member in good standing to be the Nominating-Committee-chair whose duty it is to seek candidates to be elected to the Board at the annual meeting.  The slate of candidates must be received by the newsletter-editor before the deadline of the last newsletter before the Annual General Meeting.  The list of candidates and their biographies will appear in the newsletter and be circulated to the members before the Annual General Meeting.  Nominations may also be accepted from the floor.  Prior to the election at least one other member in good standing shall be appointed to serve on the Nominating Committee.  Someone who is a candidate is not permitted to serve on the Nominating Committee. 

In 17.1, replace "The other 3" with "The other 5", so that 17.1 becomes:

17.1  The Nominating Committee shall conduct the elections by secret ballot.  The Directors shall be elected by secret ballot at the Annual General Meeting.  Four of the Directors will be elected for a 2-year term at a meeting occurring in an even-numbered year.  The other 5 will be elected for a 2-year term in an odd-numbered year.  Members shall be eligible for re-election to the Board. 

In 19.1, add "Membership-chair", so that 19.1 becomes:

19.1  The Executive of the Board shall consist of the following officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership-chair. 

In 20.3, duties of Secretary, in point (b) remove "General Membership", remove "Executive", so that 20.3-(b) becomes:

(b)  shall give adequate notice to each Director of each Board Meeting;

In 20.3, duties of Secretary, add the following as point (d):

(d)  shall maintain the contact-info for directors, and shall circulate it to all directors whenever it changes. 

Add the following as 20.5 to describe the duties of Membership-chair:

20.5  Membership-chair:
(a)  shall maintain the membership-list, including for each member a mailing-address, as well as an email-address and telephone-number if provided;
(b)  shall produce the mailing-list and emailing-list of members who are in good standing, for each newsletter, and for each meeting of members as described in article-11;
(c)  shall periodically make the membership-list available to other directors in both printed and electronic form;
(d)  shall determine whether quorum has been met at a meeting of members. 

Throughout articles 4, 10.2, 12, (but not 6), replace "fee" or "fees" with "dues", so that the former "membership fees" are now called "membership dues" (but "fieldtrip fees" remain unchanged). 

In 4.09, replace "membership chair" with "Membership-chair". 

Throughout, remove the hyphen in "by-law", "by-laws", "By-Laws", so that these words become "bylaw", "bylaws", Bylaws". 


With Bill Bremner

An evening devoted to improving our photography
With emphasis on strong design
We will participate in...

• discussion on seeing
• critique of actual images
• hints and tips on dynamic composition
• pitfalls to avoid
Through a question and answer period we hope to produce topics for future sessions. 

Bill Bremner has taught courses, sold equipment, and judged contests for nearly forty years.  He has a wealth of information learned from his students - and he loves to share! 

Location:  Manitoba Lawn Bowling Centre, 1212 Dakota, St.Vital
Date and time:  7:00 pm, March 18, 2009
Cost:  $15.00 (Members $10.00)
Contact:  Peggy Bainard Acheson at 261-9179 or
Deadline for Registration:  March 13, 2009

Send cheques made out to Native Orchid Conservation Inc along with your name and contact information (phone-number and/or email) to:

Native Orchid Conservation Inc
c/o Peggy Bainard Acheson
P O Box 56025
Winnipeg MB R3B0G9

Plant of the Month

Golden Bean (Thermopsis rhombifolia)

By Laura Reeves

Golden bean is known for its brilliant yellow flowers that often blanket entire hillsides in spring (mid-May to June).  This 15-50cm tall perennial produces new shoots from rhizomes every year.  Stems appear in pairs, with dark green leaves comprised of three leaflets, 2-3 cm long.  The leaves have a distinct reticulate veining pattern.  Bright yellow pea-like flowers form in clusters at the tips of the stems and later develop into flat, curved, hairy pods about 5cm long.  They contain 4-6 seeds.  This species may be confused with the exotic bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), which has much smaller flowers and leaves and blooms in July.  The botanical name, Thermopsis rhombifolia, is derived from the Greek words, "thermos" (lupine) and "opsis" (resemblance), referring to the shape of the flowers.  "Rhombifolia" refers to the diamond-shaped (rhombic) leaves.  This plant is also called "buffalo bean" because Native people used the blooming period as an indicator of when bison bulls were ready for the spring hunt. 

This species prefers open, sandy habitats where the water table is high.  Though its status is deemed secure in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, it is ranked S2 (imperiled) in Manitoba.  Until 2007, golden bean had only bean recorded from the southwestern corner of Manitoba.  According to information received from the Manitoba Conservation Data Centre (Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch, Manitoba Conservation), golden bean was previously recorded as far north as Gilbert Plains (on the north side of Riding Mountain National Park) and as far east as Aweme (near Shilo).  Most of the records are one-time sightings, and many date back more than 40 years.  In 2007, I discovered a population of golden bean at Sandilands - along Hwy 404 and Bedford Ridge Road - far removed from any other known populations.  This anomaly has sparked questions about the origin of the plants and the potential for other populations in the area.  According to Alberta Plant Watch, this prairie species has been spreading northward into sandy parkland areas along railway embankments and roadsides. 

NOCI member, Richard Reeves, recalls acres of undisturbed prairie, yellow with "buffalo beans", while growing up near Yorkton, SK.  He also recalls strict warnings from his mother to steer clear of these poisonous plants.  Golden bean contains toxic quinolizidine alkaloids, which are most concentrated in the seeds.  Symptoms of poisoning from ingestion of flowers and seeds may include vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, drowsiness, nausea, headache, oral irritation, tachycardia, tremors, and other general signs, with severity depending on the amount and plant part ingested.  Symptoms generally occur within 3 hours of ingestion and don't last more than 12 hours.  Children are most likely to be affected, though golden bean has been suspected in livestock deaths.  Native uses of this plant include burning and inhaling smoke from the dried leaves for headaches and colds.  The flowers were also used to dye arrow shafts and skin bags.