SAN DIEGO — A world-class orchid show highlights how unique the plants are and what some of the challenges are that they face in the wild.

Ashley Grable with the San Diego Botanic Garden says there is no such thing as what an orchid looks like. Their fantastical shapes and colors are what make orchids captivating to her.

What You Need To Know

  • Habitat loss and poaching are some of the biggest threats orchids face in the wild 

  • San Diego Botanic Garden partners with several conservation groups year-round to conduct orchid conservation work around the world

  • World of Orchids is an annual show highlighting the variety and beauty of the species 

  • Some of the orchids on display are grown at the garden and others are on loan from private collections

“There are so many different kinds of orchids, small orchids and large orchids,” she said. “Hairy ones and ones that look like antelopes.”

World of Orchids is a chance for them to shine, with hundreds of different species on display, some grown at the garden and some on loan from private collections.

Scientists say habitat loss and poaching are some of the biggest threats they face in the wild, but thanks to organizations like San Diego Botanic Garden, some of the rarest species are coming back.

The show included a Rothschild’s Orchid for display, which only grows in a certain area in Borneo.

“About 15 or 20 years ago, this was one of the most coveted, highly collectible orchids in the world because it was extremely rare,” Grable said.

She says the Botanic Garden gives people a chance to see incredibly rare plants that they wouldn’t see anywhere else.

Rene Van Rems is the artist who designed the show and found stunning and unexpected ways to display all the orchids.

“It’s truly humbling when we work with these orchids and display them. We are in awe and I do this for a living,” he laughed. “It is just awesome the way nature makes us see things.”

Grable says there are countless undiscovered orchid species growing in the wild, all with their own unique variations. She believes their Botanic Garden gives even seasoned collectors the opportunity to discover something strange, new and delightful.

Grable hopes this up-close encounter with the flowering plants helps people care about their future.

“This is a great opportunity for people to see all kinds of orchids and better understand the great variety and the magnificent beauty of the flowers,” she said.

World of Orchids is an annual show at San Diego Botanic Garden.