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Thousands of orchid species flourish throughout Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. They’ve long played a role in the folklore and cultural traditions of these areas. Scientists study their species and their intricate ecology, conservationists work to save their habitats, and horticulturists grow brightly colored beauties. The new exhibition Orchids of Latin America at the Natural History Museum (through April 21) explores the rich crossroads where orchid botany, horticulture, and Latin American cultures meet
Smithsonian Gardens staff member Tom Mirenda, an orchid collection specialist, leads a private tour before the museum opens to the public. He will take visitors into a Mexican courtyard where the balconies, trees and fountain drip with orchids, walk through an orchid reserve, and then to a vanilla vine–draped hut, where activities and resources offer more information about this most prized and beautiful of blooms. Mirenda will discuss his work with orchids, and the complexities of designing an exhibit with live collections.
Tour is 1 1/2 hours, and meets at 8:30 a.m. in the Constitution Ave. entrance lobby of the Natural History Museum.
This tour is limited to 25 participants; photo ID is required, and museum entry procedures prevent admission for latecomers.
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To learn more about Latin America, listen to clips from Smithsonian Folkways>>