ABCs of Orchids

April 7, 2008 at 9:32 am 3 comments

On Saturday, while looking at cherry blossoms, I did sneak in for a stroll through the United States Botanical Gardens.  Currently they have an “Alphabet of Orchids” exhibit, which provided plenty of opportunities for pictures.

Orchids at the National Gardens

More Orchids at the National Gardens

And another one at the National Gardens

Looking at these beautiful plants, I felt whisked away.  I could picture people paddling canoes through treacherous tropic rivers and climbing up in the canopy of trees just for the possibility of a glimpse of one of these flowers.  Orchids seemed so exotic and unattainable.

It wasn’t until I was back home in Southwest Virginia, killing time before the next installment of HBO’s John Adams, that I paused and thought, “Wait a second!  I’ve SEEN orchids here.”

They may not be as flashy as some of the ones on display at the National Gardens, but the Appalachian Trail is home to Pink Lady Slipper Orchids.  I’ve seen them near Dragon’s Tooth and near Apple Orchard Falls.

Pink Lady Slipper Orchids off Cornelius Creek Trail on May 15, 2007

The “A” in the “Alphabet of Orchids” stands for “Adaptation” and Wikipedia describes the flowers as “occurring in almost every habitat apart from deserts and glaciers.”  The Appalachian Trail, being neither a desert or a glacier, safely falls in the “almost every habitat” category.

The “B” in the “Alphabet of Orchids” supposedly represents the big “Business” surrounding this type of flower.  Somehow the U.S. Botanic Gardens managed to resist using the most tempting and obvious B-word of all.  I’m not that strong.  It’s cliche and corny, but also 100% accurate.  Regardless if the orchid is from Asia, Africa or is practically in my backyard:

“B” could stand for “Beauty” 


Entry filed under: Appalachian Trail, Apple Orchard Falls, Dragon's Tooth, Hiking, Orchid, Pink Lady Slipper, Wildflowers.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Janet Wilkins  |  April 7, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Wow! Your photographs are gorgeous! That’s it! I MUST make it down to see the Botanical Gardens. Thanks for posting these photos.

  • 2. geekhiker  |  April 7, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Fantastic pictures. Great framing and color.

    Totally unrelated: I’m soooo jealous that you get to watch John Adams. I do not have the premium channels and must, alas, wait for the DVD…

  • 3. orchidsaliveinzone5  |  December 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks for creating this blog. Here’s another blog about the care and culture of orchids that you might be interested in


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