The 72nd annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show pays homage to a family of flowering plants that boasts 25,000 species, among which beauty is ubiquitous and uniqueness is commonplace. Some are sexy (One species attracts male bees by mimicking the look, scent and feel of a female bee) while others are secretive (It took scientists years to find a moth with a foot-long tongue for pollinating an orchid that hides nectar 12 inches deep.).
The three-day Orchid Show highlights bold and beautiful horticultural innovations and feats of evolution represented by more than 50 orchid exhibitors and vendors from around the world. A highlight of this year’s event is the vanilla orchid, which will add taste to the list of senses stimulated by the diverse array of plants.
Though each year, the orchid show spotlights the novel and new, the event is steeped in a rich history. In its 71 years, it has grown rapidly alongside the public’s burgeoning attraction and access to orchids. Santa Barbara’s relationship with the exotic beauties was fostered by its well-heeled residents with sophisticated taste, such as Anna Dickinson and Edward and Emily Carpentier, who obtained specimens of the then-rare plants from distributors in England in the 1930s and 1940s.
Santa Barbara Int'l Orchid Show takes place beneath the golden dome of the exhibit hall at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Highway 101 at Las Positas, SB - 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93105