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International Orchid Show, April 2013

PHILADELPHIA, November 5, 2012


Blue Heaven, Laeliocattleya Dinard, a Cattleya hybrid
Click on image for hi-res version

For the first time, an international orchid show will transform the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University into a spectacular world of flowers—just in time for spring. The International Orchid Show and Sale will be held April 12–14, 2013, in collaboration with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society. The event is free with regular museum admission.

The orchid extravaganza will feature more than 30 spectacular exhibits showcasing beautiful, sometimes bizarre, often fragrant, and always interesting orchids in full bloom. Visitors will marvel at the unparalleled beauty, complexity and diversity of the world’s largest family of flowering plants, Orchidaceae, the scientific Latin name.

Arrayed throughout the museum will be more than 1,200 plants from orchid societies and individuals. These entries will be evaluated by certified American Orchid Society judges from the U.S. and Canada. Nearly 25 vendors from Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brazil, Ecuador, and the U.S.  will set up shop and offer orchid plants as well as growing supplies and related giftware.

In addition there will be:

  • an exhibit of North American native orchid photographs
  • a display of rare and unusual orchid books
  • a raffle for a framed photograph of the 2013 show flower, Dark Laelia, Cattleya tenebrosa (formerly Laelia tenebrosa), from eastern Brazil
  • a display of blooming Yellow Lady’s Slippers, Cypripedium parviflorum, one of the few native species that can be successfully grown in local woodland gardens
  • guided tours of the show
  • free lectures
  • limited tours by appointment of the Academy’s world-renowned botanical collection of about 1.4 million specimens, including about 9,000 orchids.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate and enjoy a vastly diverse array of these exotic plants all in one place,” said Academy President and CEO George W. Gephart, Jr. “The fascination with orchids dates back centuries, with some harrowing tales of orchid thieves and species endangerment.”

The International Orchid Show and Sale is the largest of its kind in the U.S. outside Florida and California. “And this is the first time an orchid show of this magnitude will be held in Philadelphia,” said Robert Sprague, co-chair of the show for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society.

For more information and updates, visit or call 215-299-1000.

Steamy jungles and flamboyant corsages

Mere mention of the word “orchid” conjures up images of steamy jungles and trees festooned with flamboyant corsage orchids. Most orchids do grow in the tropics and subtropics, but they also grow in specialized habitats on all continents, except Antarctica. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, more than 50 species of orchids are found in the wild.

There are more than 30,000 species of orchids worldwide with more being discovered in remote parts of the world each year. Many are large, colorful and stereotypical, but others are small, green and inconspicuous. All have developed remarkable adaptations to ensure successful pollination and continuation of the species.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society, one of 600 chapters of the American Orchid Society, has held an annual orchid show at various venues for more than 40 years, most recently at Longwood Gardens, outside Philadelphia. Sprague said moving the show to the Academy “will bring the joy of orchids to an even greater audience.”

“Education and conservation are high priorities for both organizations,” Sprague said. “This new partnership between the Academy and the orchid society will continue to foster the important work of educating people about the culture and conservation of the world’s most beautiful and extraordinary flowers.”

Media Contact

Carolyn Belardo

Director of Public Relations
Phone: 215.299.1043