Gardens by the Bay is Singapore’s immersive horticultural attraction best known for its Supertrees, soaring vertical habitats that are marvels of nature, art, and technology. The Singapore Botanic Gardens, the only tropical garden designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the National Orchid Garden, with its famed Arches adorned with thousands of colorful orchids and many other exotic tropical species.
With tens of thousands of species thriving in habitats around the globe, orchids are some of the most diverse and well-adapted plants on Earth. Investigate the many unique evolutions and survival mechanisms employed by this colorful family when you visit The Orchid Show.
Orchids thrive in almost any environment around the world, from deserts to rain forests. Having evolved and adapted in order to survive and reproduce in such a wide variety of habitats, orchids grow in almost any size, color, and shape imaginable. As such, there are an estimated 30,000 naturally occurring orchid species and tens of thousands of artificially created hybrids, making Orchidaceae the largest plant family on Earth.
Commitment to Conservation
NYBG remains a sanctuary for a renowned collection of orchid specimens, among which are included many species threatened by poaching, international trade, and habitat loss. Together with nations and botanical institutions around the world, the Garden continues its work to protect and repair the legacy of these important plants.
There are more than 6,000 orchids representing 2,273 taxa (different types) in the Garden’s permanent collection, which has orchids from all of the floristic regions of the world, including Australia, Africa, South America, and Madagascar.
The Garden’s resident orchid expert is Marc Hachadourian, Director of Glasshouse Horticulture & Senior Curator of Orchids. With more than 15 years of commercial and specialized horticultural experience, he supervises the care of the botanical collections, including the extensive orchid collection and exhibition plants in the Nolen Greenhouses.
Many wild orchids are at risk of extinction due to over-collection and the destruction of their native habitats. Through the Convention on International Trade in Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), dozens of countries are working together to curb the exploitation of wild species and ensure trade does not threaten their survival. Despite regulations, many orchids are still imported illegally.
The NYBG, a designated CITES Plant Rescue Center since 1990, cares for many confiscated plants. Hundreds of orchids from Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and Thailand have arrived here in poor condition, but through careful study of their needs and the use of appropriate horticultural techniques, the Garden has successfully rejuvenated a majority of these ailing specimens.
NYBG Names Orchid After Celebrity Awkwafina
The New York Botanical Garden announced that it had named an orchid in its collection after musician and actress Awkwafina, who has starred in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8. This is the first time NYBG has named an orchid after a public figure.
The flower of this plant has a bold, vibrant, intense color, with deep raspberry-red blooms of excellent quality, which seemed to be a perfect orchid to carry the name Awkwafina. Because of her accomplishments in music and film, as well as her prominence as a native New Yorker, she’s the perfect choice for this recognition.
The orchid is a Vanda hybrid (Susan Best x Crownfox Black Forest), one of a group of orchids important to Singapore orchid culture and orchid breeding. Singapore has even selected a related Vanda hybrid (Vanda Miss Joaquim) as its national flower. They are one of the few types of orchids with flowers in all colors of the rainbow. Cultivated forms come in every imaginable shade of purple, blue, orange, apricot, yellow, and red—many with spots and patterns. The large, colorful blooms are among the most prized of all tropical orchids and many are featured throughout this year’s orchid exhibition. The orchid Vanda Awkwafina will be kept in NYBG’s world-renowned orchid collection, where NYBG staff will care for it and proudly display it for the public during The Orchid Show: Singapore.