A Splash of Pink: What’s Blooming in the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection

December 22, 2014 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

Winter is prime time for beautiful blooms in the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection. The greenhouses are bursting with flowers, a welcome sight after all the gloomy weather we’ve been having in the DMV lately.

Recently, I have been appreciating the variety of pink color found in many of the hybrid orchids in the collection. The pink of Oncidium Tsiku Marguerite ‘HOF #3’ is subtle and understated, but this orchid makes itself known through its powerful aroma, a somewhat powdery sweet scent. These tiny flowers pack quite a punch (albeit one that I would return for day after day).

Oncidium Tsiku Marguerite 'HOF #3'

Oncidium Tsiku Marguerite ‘HOF #3’


Farther down the greenhouse, the vivid orange-pink of Rhyncholaeliocattleya Pumpkin Mist is enough to make one stop and smell the flowers. Literally. Cattleya hybrids are famous for their strong fragrance, many of them such as this one, have scents reminiscent of pansies or hyacinths.

Rhyncholaeliocattleya Pumpkin Mist

Rhyncholaeliocattleya Pumpkin Mist


While Phalaenopsis orchids aren’t known for their fragrance, they are known for their fantastic, showy hybrid crosses. The patterns on the flowers of many novelty Phalaenopsis hybrids are so unique; this one a dark magenta color radiating like a thick bronchial tree into a light pink border. Even if these patterns are useless for attracting pollinators, they do a marvelous job of drawing in their human audience.

Phalaenopsis hybrid

Phalaenopsis hybrid

Smithsonian Gardens Orchids are constantly in bloom. Stay connected with us to see more plants from the collection that will brighten the dreariest of winter days!


-Julie R., Living Collections Specialist

Entry filed under: Collections, Orchids. Tags: , .

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