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Orchids

A selection of photos of orchids from Kew's 2013 Orchid Festival
Orchidaceae is one of the largest of all plant families. There are twice as many species of orchids as there are birds and the recent discovery of a now-extinct bee trapped in amber has strongly suggested that the family dates back to the time of the dinosaurs. While many orchids are tropical, these plants have colonised almost every climate on the planet, including our own (for example, the native Ophrys apifera bee orchid).

 

Few families of plants inspire the same level of obsession that orchids do. For hundreds of years our scientists and plant hunters have discovered, tracked, stored, researched and illustrated many of the species known to science. Every year we celebrate this fascinating plant family at our Orchids festival. It's a chance to see thousands of exotic and wild orchids cascade through the tropical displays in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

See our orchid collection in the Princess of Wales Conservatory

Kew experts answer your questions on how to grow orchids

Adopt a seed and ensure an orchid's survival

Read about orchids on our Tropical Nursery blog

Visit the Marianne North Gallery to see exquisite orchid paintings

Find out more about Kew's scientific work with orchids

Orchids festival 2014 at Kew Gardens

Every year Kew holds an annual orchids festival. The spectacular display is found in the Princess of Wales Conservatory and runs for a month during February and March.

Spectacular displays

In 2014, the festival gave visitors the opportunity to explore a hidden world of exotic orchids and tropical plants in the steamy rainforest of the Princess of Wales Conservatory – where it is always over 21°C. The displays took us on a journey back in time, retracing the footsteps of the intrepid Victorian plant hunters, discovering cascades of Vanda orchids and drapes of tropical flowers.

Every year there are a selection of orchid-themed guided tours and courses to boost your orchid knowledge. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced grower you can pick up useful tips from our experts.

Orchids 2014: Vandas timelapse at Kew Gardens

Related species

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Orchids

Sumptuous orchid photography by Fabio Petroni and stunning insights by Anna Maria Botticelli.

Orchids book cover

Gifts and specialist orchid products

We have a wide range of specialist products and guide books for the avid orchid grower and a tempting selection of gifts featuring orchids.

Buy orchid books

Orchid spray

Fine art orchid prints