World Orchid Conference.

My recent stay in Johannesburg fortunately coincided with the World Orchid Conference and Show, sometimes called the Olympics of Orchids, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

World Orchid show

The Theme was “Gold in the Green Age”, reflecting the natural riches of southern Africa and the need to balance the exploitation of these riches with the preservation of the natural environment.

South Africa has almost 500 wild orchids, many only growing in SA. In Gauteng,the home province, there are 54 recorded wild orchid species, mostly terrestrial grassland orchids much threatened now by urban development.

World Orchid Show

I loved the Cape Orchid Society’s Stand which recreated a botanist’s study, complete with microscope and small reference library.

Botanist's study, World Orchid Show, Johannesburg

Botanist’s study, World Orchid Show, Johannesburg

There were representatives from the orchid societies across South Africa, including the local Witwatersrand Orchid Society, whose emblem is the spring-flowering Leopard orchid (Ansellia africana).

Leopard orchid

Leopard orchid

There were participants from Denmark, Ecuador (who will host the next Conference in 2017), Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia (who were making a strong play to host the 2020 Conference) amongst others. But the winning Stand was the Chaiwattana Orchids from Thailand, a beautifully displayed sanctuary of rock features and waterfalls.

The winning Stand displaying orchids from Thailand.

The winning Stand displaying orchids from Thailand.

Here is a glimpse of some of the range of orchids :

The first WOC and Show was proposed by American, Gordon Dillon, as a meeting between amateur and professional growers, conservationists and scientists, and was held in St Louis in 1954. The popularity has grown and I spent a wonderful day in the company of keen growers, amateur and professional, each with their own experience of perhaps battling the elements (Gauteng can have very cold winters) or seeking to expand their collections.

But there had to be a winning orchid, so here below is Best in Show, Angulocaste Olympus ‘Honey”.

Angulocaste Olympus 'Honey'

Angulocaste Olympus ‘Honey’

But they all looked very beautiful to me!

22 thoughts on “World Orchid Conference.

    • Thanks Agnes. In fact all photos here taken with my iPhone as my memory card was faulty, as I found out afterwards. The orchids though were truly wonderful.
      And yes, a memorable trip!


  1. Lucky you being able to see the World orchid conference 2014!! Thanks for sharing it with us. I really think orchids are beautiful. I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. I hope it was a memorable trip.


    • Many thanks, though I’m kicking myself over the loss of the photos from my camera. The exhibition had wonderful cake & floral arrangements too. Luckily I had my phone with me & captured these.


  2. How lucky for us that you were able to visit the show and share the photos of these exotic blooms. The “Best in Show” was not actually my favourite, but I am sure it has qualities which I am totally ignorant of.
    But I loved the first photo. You must have had a fabulous time!


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