Friday, 21 February 2014

Eco showcase

Cambridge’s botanic gardens is hosting an exotic and unusual orchid exhibition in a display in the Glasshouse Range.

The orchid festival focuses on the orchids of the Indian state of Sikkim in the foothills of the Himalayas. 

A pair of orchid trees laden with orchids from hot valleys and cool slopes will be constructed in the corridor and central Tropical Rainforest display, while orchids from around the globe will be woven throughout the glasshouse plantings. 

File:Purple orchids at Am Orchid Society, Delray Bch.JPG

The Tropical Wetlands house will focus on orchid anatomy and adaptations, with the centrepiece a spider’s web of Vanda orchids, suspended from the roof.

What makes this exhibit so unusual is that it was conceived and designed by members of Writhlington Orchid Club. A team of six students and their inspirational teacher Simon Pugh–Jones travelled five thousand miles to the Himalayan Indian state and explored remote forests to record the epiphytic micro-habitats where key orchid species grow in the wild.

File:Sikkim India Himalayas Trail.jpg

According to the local press, their aim was to identify the altitude, the type of forest, the part of the canopy, even the amount of moss present around the roots. 

Orchids face many threats in the wild, and conservation is a key issue which will be highlighted in the Continents Apart House. 

One such example is the East Anglian fen orchid (Liparis loeslii), the subject of a conservation and reintroduction project that staff at the garden are working on.
File:The Ted Ellis Nature Reserve - Old Mill Marsh - - 1341577.jpg

By Pamela Kelt

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