February 4, 2009
You can learn a lot of things from the flowers. Perhaps the girls from Sex and the City should have ditched the daily macchiatos and decked out to the local botanical garden to take a few pointers from the orchids. That’s right kids, orchids are total pros when it comes to sex, and it has served them well when it comes to finding Mr. Right. (Well, in the wild world of plants, it’s more like “Mr. Right Now,” but you get what I mean.)
Thanks to the coquettish ways in which they attract pollinators—from bright colors to inviting curves—these flowers have managed to survive since the age of the dinosaurs. They have since developed into 25,000 different species, 10,000 of which are represented in the National Museum of Natural History’s horticultural collections. Orchids Through Darwin’s Eyes—the special title given to their 15th Annual Orchid Show honors the 200th birthday of the famous naturalist who was awed by orchid diversity—highlights these collections. (Fellow ATM blogger Joseph Caputo previously covered the show here.) Can’t get down to the National Mall before the show closes on April 26th? You can enjoy the Smithsonian’s spin on these sexy flowers by way of Smithsonian Channel’s Stories from the Vaults series. In the episode “Beauty,” host Tom Cavanaugh talks with Smithsonian Orchid Collection Specialist Tom Mirenda to get the lowdown on how orchids get their groove on. (See a clip from the show below. The episode is also available for download from iTunes.)
And any orchid-related stories or experiences you would like to share are also most welcome.
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