The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the United Kingdom opened its annual orchid festival This weekend. And South West London has become a riot of color and tropical flora that celebrates the biodiversity of Costa Rica.
The 26th Kew Orchid Show this year focuses on the Central American country, which is acclaimed for its conservation. Visitors can enjoy more than 5,000 orchids from all over the world, but with special attention to those native to Costa Rica.
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Among them is the national flower, a critically endangered orchid called Guarian the skinneri. It has pink-purple petals and is found in humid forests, on the trunks and branches of trees. Also on the shores of granite cliffs at certain elevations.
One month duration
The month-long exhibit, set in tropical conditions and temperatures, also promotes Costa Rica’s famous wildlife. There are handmade sculptures of some animals made with natural materials and nestled among the plants.
“Through the glass house, we try to bring as many colors as possible to transport people to this kind of world of well-being that is Costa Rica…to make it really beautiful and surprising,” said said Henck Rolling, Kew florist and volunteer.
The Dutchman, who, in keeping with the orchid theme, dyed his hair and beard bright colors and donned an orange garland, said the team had spent much of the past two years thinking about the festival. This was put on hold due to the pandemic.
Focused on the wonders of Costa Rica
Several individual displays of different types of orchids have been placed in the sprawling and misty Princess of Wales Conservatory in Kew. They are interspersed with water features, ferns, monsteras and other green elements.
The colorful array of plants began arriving in January and took weeks to be assembled by hand by dozens of volunteers and staff, said Alberto Trinco, the conservatory’s acting supervisor.
“It’s one of the largest families of plants, and they have an incredible variety of shapes, colors, and other adaptations and co-evolutions with their pollinators, which is sometimes mind-boggling,” he said. added.
A section of the exhibit delves into orchids, explaining everything from their family tree and anatomy to their use for celebrations in Costa Rica. Trinco pointed out that organizers chose the country, which is home to more than 1,600 species of orchids, to “celebrate its biodiversity, conservation effort and culture.
The Central American nation occupies only 0.03% of the planet but is home to 6% of the world’s flora and fauna species. And, in addition, he was hailed for his management of the natural environment.
Last year, Costa Rica was one of the first winners of the UN-backed Earth Shot Prize. This is in recognition of their efforts to combat environmental degradation and promote sustainability.
Alex Munro, a botanist from Kew who specializes in discovering new plant species in the tropics, said he and his colleagues had worked with the Costa Rican ambassador in London. This is to help inform some of the science behind the exhibits. many species are found nowhere else,” he said. Other countries that have already been the subject of the annual sample are Indonesia, India and Colombia.