Smithsonian Orchid Exhibit 2022

My First Orchid Exhibit in 3 Years

Hello again, orchid lovers! Last weekend, John and I made our way to the Kogod Courtyard at the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery for the 2022 Smithsonian Orchid Exhibit. The last time I saw an orchid exhibit was in this exact same place in 2019!

The 2022 exhibit theme is Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women. I feel a little guilty because I didn’t really spend time reading about the featured women on any of the displays. Because the pandemic is still going on and the courtyard began to get busier, I didn’t want to spend a ton of time inside (even while masked…I’m still working on getting back to normal life). But there’s plenty of information about the women of honor on the exhibit’s website, including videos.

Smithsonian Orchid Exhibit 2022

As per usual, I took A LOT of photos! I’m only going to share select favorites here, otherwise this would turn into the longest blog post in the history of blog posts (let’s be honest; it’s still gonna be pretty long). If you’d like to see all of my photos from the exhibit, click here.

First, though, I have to share a selfie with orchids!

Finally at an orchid exhibit after 3 years!

Okay! One of the first orchids that we encountered in the exhibit was this gorgeous Ansellia africana:

Ansellia africana

This orchid was an impressively large, showy plant:

Ansellia africana full plant

I fell in love with this greenish-yellow Phalaenopsis stuartiana. Now I want one of these for my own collection:

Phalaenopsis stuartiana

The intricacy of tiny orchid blooms is so alluring, as demonstrated by this Polystachya paniculata. I’d say the blooms were no more than a half a centimeter in diameter.

Polystachya paniculata

The exhibit had plenty of Cymbidiums, many of which I photographed, but I took a special liking to the colors of the Cymbidium Rothesay ‘Chikiting-Gubat’ pictured below:

Cymbidium Rothesay 'Chikiting-Gubat'

I loved these displays of hanging orchids:

Hanging orchid display

I’m always drawn to Epicattleya Rene Marques ‘Tyler.’ That color combo is so bright and tropical.

Epicattleya Rene Marques 'Tyler'

It was a little hard to capture the detail of this Polystachya longiscapa with my iPhone; I find light-colored orchids very hard to photograph. But the blooms were beautiful, and they were hanging off an arching spike that was probably three feet long!

Polystachya longiscapa

Orchid exhibits often have large, showy Vandas, but this one didn’t have many—at least, not the day we went. But we did spot a couple smaller Vandas, including this gorgeous Vanda Meda Arnold:

Vanda Meda Arnold

This pic of a pale yellow Phalaenopsis might be my favorite photo that I took during our visit:

Pale yellow Phalaenopsis

I’m also in love with this wide-lipped, pale yellow and pink Phalaenopsis:

Pale yellow and pink Phalaenopsis

For some reason, the yellow orchids in this exhibit were really speaking to me! So many of my favorite photos are of yellow orchids, including this unique Dendrobium thyrsiflorum:

Dendrobium thyrsiflorum

You know how much I adore Zygopetalums! This hybrid’s tag identified it as x Hamelwellsara Aussie Quest x (x Zygoneria Dynamo).

x Hamelwellsara Aussie Quest x (x Zygoneria Dynamo)

I found this fuzzy Pelexia laxa, a terrestrial orchid from Mexico and South America, to be so intriguing. Orchid exhibits typically focus on bright, showy blooms, so more muted, earth-toned plants like this one often get overlooked.

Pelexia laxa

I’m such a fan of Psychopsis! This large Mendenhall ‘Hildos’ bloom was quite the showstopper.

Psychopsis Mendenhall 'Hildos'

O. M. G. The tropical color combo of Dendrobium Oriental Smile ‘Fantasy’ does indeed make me smile! (I hope that the folks who name orchids have phased out the antiquated term “oriental” in their naming process.)

Dendrobium Oriental Smile 'Fantasy'

Another unusually earth-toned orchid was this tan-and-brown Coelogyne pulverula:

Coelogyne pulverula

And this Coelogyne flaccida had a ton of white, brown, and yellow blooms:

Coelogyne flaccida

I’ll stop there with the bloom pics, but as a reminder, you can check out my whole slideshow here.

One final selfie before I sign off!

Selfie with Cymbidiums

I’m soooo happy that I finally got to see an orchid exhibit again! It had been way too long. The exhibit ends April 24, so if you’re in the DC area or will be visiting before then, there’s still time to see this colorful display. Because the exhibit is part of the Smithsonian, it’s free to enter. And FYI, masks are currently optional indoors in DC; I kept mine on the entire time. I’d say mask-wearing was about 50/50 when we were there. I hope you enjoyed my photos from the exhibit!

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