Orchid Exhibition: Orchids: Amazing Adaptations

February 16 - April 28, 2019 in the Kogod Courtyard

Orchids: Amazing AdaptationsEscape the winter cold and step into a floral oasis in the Kogod Courtyard with Orchids: Amazing Adaptations. A joint collaboration with Smithsonian Gardens, United States Botanic Garden, SAAM, and National Portrait Gallery, this installation fills the courtyard with hundreds of orchids of stunning variety. The installation showcases how orchids have adapted to their many different environments, and can be found on every single continent except Antarctica.

Orchids: Amazing Adaptations is part of Habitat, a Smithsonian Gardens–wide exhibition exploring the importance of habitats and how we can help protect them. Habitat is the first in a series of changing exhibitions connecting all of Smithsonian Gardens’ spaces with a single theme. From 2019 to 2020, Habitat will feature a variety of indoor and outdoor displays, exhibits, and educational programs.

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orchids: A MOMENT

orchids: A MOMENTJanuary 14 to May 14, 2017 at the Hirshhorn

The Smithsonian Gardens and United States Botanic Garden 2017 Orchid Exhibition, showcases over 100 orchids in a limited-time display amidst the Hirshhorn’s unique architecture. Selected from the collections of both Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden, these stunning blooms are presented as colorful time-based installations, constantly changing throughout the exhibition’s four-month run. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the exotic assemblage as a whole as well as each orchid as it stands in that moment, and return again and again to enjoy the display as it evolves. Experience your own moment knowing there will never be another one exactly like it.

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Interlocking Science and Beauty

January 24 - April 26, 2015

Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty“Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty”, will explore the rich crossroads where orchid botany, horticulture, and technology connect. Featuring orchids from the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection and the United States Botanic Garden Orchid Collection, the exhibit looks at how new ideas, technologies, and inventions change the way we study, protect, and enjoy orchids. Each new innovation is like a puzzle piece: it fills in gaps in our knowledge and creates a larger and more complex picture of orchids.

Orchid Symphony

February 22 - April 27, 2014

orchid-latinExperience the incredible elegance of an orchid symphony with this year’s orchid exhibition, an annual collaboration with Smithsonian Gardens from February 22 through April 27. The U.S. Botanic Garden will feature exuberant displays of orchids nestled among whimsical topiaries and musical fountains. Illuminated by an orchid chandelier, the Garden Court will sing the praises of beautiful orchids. The Conservatory will feature orchids from all over the world in a multitude of environments. Come see desert orchids, jungle orchids and even orchids used in medicine and cooking against the gorgeous backdrop of the U.S. Botanic Garden collections.

Orchids of Latin America

January 26 – April 21, 2013

orchid-latinDo you want to stroll through a tropical rain forest on a cold winter's day? Visit this year's orchid exhibition to explore the rich crossroads where orchid botany, horticulture, and Latin American cultures meet. Learn about the importance of orchids in Latin America folklore and cultural traditions, see how that region is a hotbed for scientific research on orchid biology and evolution, and discover conservation efforts to preserve orchids and their habitats for future generations. And of course enjoy the beautiful orchids from the Smtihsonian Gardens Orchid Collection.

This event received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

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Orchid Mystique: Nature's Triumph

February 18 – April 29, 2012

Orchid MystiqueObserving the 100th anniversary of the Japan's gift of the cherry blossoms to Washington, orchids are presented in settings evocative of Japanese gardens. The tranquility of the Japanese aesthetic invites appreciation of the beauty, form and exquisite floral complexity of nature's most diverse plant family.

Orchids: A View from the East

January 29 – April 24, 2011

orchid-eastOrchids have been a part of Chinese culture for many centuries, permeating Chinese history, legends, literature, and art. Since ancient times, orchids have been celebrated in China for their beauty and fragrance, and appreciated as symbols of nobility, friendship, and refinement.

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Orchids Through Darwin’s Eyes

January 24 to April 27, 2009

This exhibit explored the alluring world of orchids through the eyes of Darwin and those he influenced—naturalists, horticulturists, and scientists who continue to find new insights and curious surprises while working with these captivating plants in greenhouses, laboratories, and in the wild.

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Orchids: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

January 27 to April 22, 2007

Orchids were displayed naturalistically rather than submerged in mulch as is typical for such exhibits. Information on orchid ecology, pollination biology, symbioses, evolution, phylogeny and the work of Smithsonian Institution researchers is interspersed on display panels throughout the exhibit.

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The Orchid Express


The Orchid Express explored the transformation of exotic orchids that have always been among the most popular of the plant kingdom, despite the fact that orchids once bore the reputation of being hard to grow, as well as prohibitively expensive.

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Nature's Jewels


Biological diversity, the dazzling variety of life in all its forms, levels, and combinations, is expressed exuberantly in the world of orchids. In that colorful universe, plants and animals have evolved to depend closely on each other for their very survival.

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The Artistry of Orchids

January 22 to March 26, 2000

For hundreds of years, orchids have captured our hearts and have been translated into many forms of art. This year's exhibition looked to what is so inspirational and alluring about orchids.


Orchid Exhibit Watch List Is Back!

Click here to see the list of orchid species from Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection that can be found on display in the exhibit each week. Species composition can change significantly from week to week, so make sure to keep checking back for new additions!

3D Orchid Tour

3D Orchid

The Embreea orchid revealed

Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection is proud to have participated in and contributed to the Smithsonian’s 3D Digital Charter collection by providing access to some of its rarest and most interesting orchids. The link below leads to a dynamic digital tour of a high definition scan of our prized, award-winning Embreea orchid, and its pollinator, a type of Orchid Bee. This outstanding tour will take you deep inside this amazing orchid and give intimate insight into its complex and fascinating relationship with its insect partner.

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Smithsonian Orchid Collection

Smithsonian orchid collection

The Smithsonian Orchid Collection

The Smithsonian Orchid Collection has grown from five plants to close to 8,000 specimens since 1974. It is an invaluable resource for education, exhibition, and scientific research.

Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Exhibit Images


Smithsonian Gardens
Dendrobium densiflorum

James Osen, photographer


Smithsonian Gardens
Phalaenopsis hybrid white
Bryan Ramsay, photographer


Smithsonian Gardens
Rhyncholaeliocattleya Owen Holmes
Bryan Ramsay, photographer

orchid installation

Smithsonian Gardens orchid installation for Orchids of Latin America exhibit
Eric Long, photographer

orchid display

Smithsonian Gardens, Orchids of Latin America exhibit
Eric Long, photographer