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More Than 1,000 Orchids on Display at Hershey Gardens February 3 - 5

The Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory at Hershey Gardens will be transformed into an “orchid oasis” from Friday, February 3, through Sunday, February 5. That’s when the orchid show and sale, For the Love of Orchids will be on display. More than 1,000 gorgeous orchids—and one variety that even smells like chocolate—will fill the Conservatory’s Educational & Horticultural Wing.

Provided by the Susquehanna Orchid Society, the 33rd annual orchid show and sale will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday, February 3, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, February 4 and 5. The show is included in admission to Hershey Gardens.

“These aren’t the types of orchids you see in your local supermarket,” said Mariella Trosko, director of Hershey Gardens. “The orchid show at the Gardens will include some rare varieties and unique hybrids. I think visitors will be amazed at just how many varieties of orchids there are.”

For the Love of Orchids is the first flower show to be held in the new Conservatory since it opened in the summer of 2016. Fitting for the town that chocolate built, the show will even feature Sharry Baby, an orchid variety that smells like chocolate! Other rare species and unique hybrids include Vanda, Dendrobrium, Cattleyas and Paphiopedilums.

“Orchids are one of the most fascinating flowers in the plant world,” said Dan Babbitt, associate director of Hershey Gardens. “They are as well known for their exotic beauty as they are for being difficult to grow.”

Despite the challenges growers face with cultivating them, orchids are the largest family of flowering plants on earth, with more than 30,000 different species growing on every continent except Antarctica. In their natural tropical habitat, orchids attach themselves to the bark of trees, or the surface of other plants. Their thick, white roots are especially adept at absorbing moisture and dissolving nutrients. Because orchids usually grow high in the trees, they are accustomed to ample air circulation and plenty of light. They prefer a 12-hour day, year-round, and require a high intensity of light—about the same as midsummer conditions in temperate regions.

“While orchid blooms are indeed beautiful,” their shape, which mimics insects, is a way to lure an insect into pollination,” added Babbitt. “They’re quite an intriguing plant in many ways.”

For the Love of Orchids is a juried show. A group of experts will selected winning orchids and present awards. Several orchids displayed at previous Susquehanna Orchid Society shows have received national recognition by the American Orchid Society.

Orchid societies from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware will also participate in the annual display.

For more information about Susquehanna Orchid Society, please visit SusquehannaOrchid.org.

For ticketing information and details on all activities and events at Hershey Gardens, visit HersheyGardens.org.

See the Orchid Mantis, Too!

As if orchids weren’t fascinating enough, the very fascinating orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) also will be on display daily during February from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The insect, which looks very similar to an orchid bloom, is one of the most impressive “mimics” in the insect world. Their body is shaped like a flower petal and changes color to imitate a flower and hide from its unsuspecting prey. Orchid mantids are such impressive mimics that new research has shown pollinating insects are more attracted to the mantis then actual flowers! See an orchid mantis on exhibit at the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory in February as part of the “Mimics: Plant or Insect?” display.