Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection
The Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection (SGOC) has grown from five plants to over 8,000 specimens since 1974. It is an invaluable resource for educational programs, exhibitions, and scientific research. It is maintained in the Smithsonian Gardens Greenhouse Facility in Suitland, Maryland by staff, interns, and volunteers.
The SGOC received accreditation from the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) in January 2014, making it the first member of the Orchidaceae tropical species curatorial group. The conferral of this award indicates Smithsonian Gardens’ dedication to orchid conservation and high collections management standards. Smithsonian Gardens strives to cultivate an extremely diverse array of orchids from all over the world. Not only are new acquisitions selected carefully based on their display quality, educational value, beauty, rarity and how they complement our present collection, but consideration is also given to how new additions will further the efforts of the NAPCC.
The Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection is currently well represented in New World genera such as Cattleya, Encyclia, Laelia, Brassavola, Epidendrum, Isochilus and Sobralia as well as Maxillaria, Lycaste, Oncidium, Brassia, Miltoniopsis and a wide array of Pleurothallids. Australian and Asian species of Dendrobium and Bulbophyllum are another area of specialty. Other Sarcanthine orchids include a large and varied group of Vanda and Ascocenda hybrids and a significant selection of African Angraecoids, many of which are quite rare in cultivation.
Some of the most popular plants are the collections of Cymbidium and Phalaenopsis hybrids. Their many flowered inflorescences and bright colors make for spectacular displays.
Connect With Us
Orchid Collections Search
Information about the Orchid Collection is now accessible to the public online via the Smithsonian Collections Search Center. Search specimens using a variety of search options such as name, taxonomy, flower color, or range and explore videos about orchid conservation, judging orchid shows, the annual exhibit installation and other related topics.
2015 Orchid Exhibition
This year's exhibition 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 Family Festival
Visitors of all ages are invited to explore the world of orchids at the “Orchid Exhibit Family Festival” in the Evans Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History on Saturday, February 21, 2015 from 10am – 2pm. This fun-filled day of free activities celebrates the exhibition, Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty. The event is collaboration between Smithsonian Gardens, the United States Botanic Garden, the National Museum of Natural History and the North American Orchid Conservation Center. Activities include constructing a field journal, an orchid corsage and an orchid puzzle. Visitors can even pot an orchid to take home! Orchid experts from the Smithsonian and U. S. Botanic Garden will be available to answer questions and tell visitors about unique plants from their collections that will be on display. FREE
3D Orchid Tour
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.
More About Orchids
Use the lessons in this package to learn about specific types of orchids, their appearance, habitats, uses, cultural significance and history.
Learn about effective orchid culture for some of the most popular genera in cultivation.
NAOCC’s newest tool to explore native orchids of the United States and Canada.