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The U.S.

Botanic Garden has almost 4,000


orchid plants representing 926 species and
524 cultivars and hybrids. The collection
includes nearly 700 orchids that were received
through port and border seizures of illegal
shipments of orchids under the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Included in the USBG living collection are
several cultivars named after the Garden
itself: Dendrobium densiflorum ‘U.S.
Botanic Garden,’ Coelogyne Burfordiense
‘U.S. Botanic Garden,’ and Maxillaria picta
‘U.S. Botanic Garden.’

Maxillaria picta
‘U.S. Botanic Garden’
Paphiopedilum leeanum
‘U.S. Botanic Garden’
The USBG dedicates about 10,000 square
feet of greenhouse space to orchids—that’s
larger than two basketball courts!

United States Botanic Garden Production Facility.


The USBG has 715 Paphiopedilum
orchids, 497 Dendrobium orchids, and 176
Bulbophyllum orchids (the largest genus in
the orchid family).

Paphiopedilum concolor Dendrobium aphyllum

Bulbophyllum fritillariflorum
Orchid enthusiasts have been busy cross–
pollinating cultivated orchids by hand to
create new hybrids since the 1850s. The
first one, Calanthe x dominii, bloomed in
England 160 years ago. Since then, more
than 110,000 orchid hybrids have been
created—now at a rate of about 3,000 per
year—representing an astonishing variety
of colors, shapes, fragrances, and sizes.
Vanilla planifolia is the primary source of “real”
vanilla, which by weight is one of the most
valuable spices. However, “natural” vanilla
may be derived from fermenting other plants,
such as corn or rice, and extracting the
resulting vanillin, the chemical responsible for
the vanilla fragrance and flavor we love.

vanilla orchid
Vanilla planifolia
Some orchids, such as Bulbophyllum species
and cultivars, have flowers that look and
smell like decaying meat. In some instances,
these odd–looking flowers also have hair that
enhances the carcass effect. They attract fly
and beetle pollinators who normally lay their
eggs on dead animals.

Bulbophyllum frostii Bulbophyllum makoyanum