Kew today - Coelogyne cristata
See this beautiful orchid with its scented white flowers in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
10 Feb 2010
Coelogyne cristata in Kew's Princess of Wales Conservatory (Image: RBG Kew)
If you can drag your eyes away from the wonder that is this year's Tropical Extravaganza, make sure you take time to visit Zone 7 of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, where slightly more special orchids can be found.
Hanging in a basket the beautiful scented white flowers of Coelogyne cristata are surrounded by its green pseudobulbs. This rather lovely orchid is found in the Himalayan north and northeast of India and the mountains of Thailand. It grows at between 5,000 - 8,000 feet in moss forests, on trees and rocks, and often fully exposed to the sun. Here at Kew we grow it in our coolest house with a minimum winter temperature of 10 °C.
Orchidaceae make up the largest family of flowering plants, with over 26,000 species known and 100 - 200 new species being discovered every year. Long prized by collectors for their beauty, and threatened by habitat loss, many orchids are now endangered in the wild. International import and export of orchids is carefully controlled; all orchids are listed on Appendix II or higher of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Kew’s orchid work
Kew has probably the largest team in the world dedicated to the description, cataloguing, research and conservation of orchids. Their subjects range from taxonomy (classification), pollination biology and orchid-fungus interactions to anatomy, biochemistry, DNA profiling and of course the growing and nurturing of the plants themselves by our horticultural experts. As orchids become more threatened in the wild by over-collection and destruction of their habitats, Kew’s work is becoming ever more important to ensure that every possible opportunity is taken to protect them.
Kew’s orchid collections
Kew has the oldest living orchid collection in existence, dating back over 200 years, and holds around 5,000 species at any one time. The collection is used extensively by Kew scientists and visiting botanists, as well as students, researchers and enthusiasts who travel to Kew from all over the world to view it.
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