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Orchid Festival 2016 – A Carnival of Tropical Colour at Kew Gardens

6 February – 6 March – Princess of Wales Conservatory


Let the winter blues melt away as you step inside the tropical paradise of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory and admire it’s transformation into a celebration of Brazil’s magnificent plant life and fascinating habitats.

This year will see orchids and other tropical plants adorning the remarkable architecture of this steamy glasshouse, creating a sensory journey through the striking flora of Brazil during Carnival season.

Gently weave your way through a series of delicately suspended orchids before passing through a tunnel made up purely of lush tropical plants. Look up in awe at two enormous Rainforest Tree structures, proudly swathed in the riotous colours of Oncidiums and Bromeliads, showing off Brazil’s magnificent plant life to the max. Travel from the Amazon rainforest to the desert of northeastern Brazil to encounter glowing hanging droplets clothed in Tillandsia hanging amongst Brazilian cacti.

Five explosive figures will take centre stage in the pond, alluding to the vibrant and flamboyant costumes of Brazilian carnival dancers. Household favourites such as Bromeliads and Phalaenopsis, as well as Brazilian hybrids such as Cambrias and Miltonias will make up this eye-catching display.

Enter into a celebration of carnival and colour exploring Brazil’s biomes in depth, from the Pantanal Biome’s seasonal flooding, a time when the ecosystem bursts into life and explodes with colour, to the Cerrado Biome’s spectacular plants, some of which have adapted to withstand fire.

Elisa Biondi, Display Horticulturalist says, “This year the pond display will be a true explosion of colour - a real carnival. What we want to do is capture the essence of Brazil, to take visitors on a journey through the biomes of this incredible country, all the while showing the range of conservation and science work that Kew is doing with South America.”

Step out of the English winter into the Brazilian wilderness and discover the work of adventurous Victorian plant hunters who journeyed Brazil to expand our knowledge of its miraculous plant life. The wild splendour of these South American plants and the diversity of Brazil will come alive in this dramatic display, giving visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the pivotal work of Kew Gardens to collect, record and conserve such a breath-taking range of tropical plants.


‘Lates’ at Kew Gardens

Thursday 11 / 18 / 25 February & 3 March 2016

After the sell-out success of our 2015 inaugural Kew Lates, the Princess of Wales Conservatory will once again throw open its doors after dark for a series of intimate evenings amongst the hundreds and thousands of tropical flowers on display. Throw yourself into a real celebration of Brazil, its striking plant life and the exotic, colourful and vibrant atmosphere of the annual Carnival of Brazil.

Experience an evening like no other in London with botanical cocktails, inspiring talks, music, samba and more, all amongst a riotous display of tropical flowers within a luscious Kew glasshouse after dark. 


Brazil – A Powerhouse of Plants. Margaret Mee, the pioneering artist and her legacy

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art

20 February – 29 August 2016

Explore the diversity of Brazil’s magnificent flora in an exhibition of beautifully delicate works from both the Shirley Sherwood Collection and the Kew Collections. Exceptional paintings by the intrepid artist and explorer Margaret Mee will show the extent of her travels through the depths of the Brazilian rainforest, and are displayed alongside stunning works from contemporary Brazilian artists as well as those who have travelled to the UK on scholarships to receive botanical art training.



For press enquiries please contact the Press Office:  020 8332 5607 / 

Images from last year’s festival are available to download from the Kew Image Library Please contact the press office for a username and password: 020 8332 5607 / 

Notes to editors:

Browse Kew's orchid profiles -                                                   

More about the Princess of Wales Conservatory -

For more information on the festival, or any of Kew’s work, please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world.

Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst, attract over 1.5 million visits every year.

Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009.  Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world.

Kew receives approximately just under half of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.