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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Where are all the labels?

Lycomormium squalidum
One of the most frequent comments on our visitor survey is 'Why aren't all of your plants labeled?' I totally get this. After all, an important function of plant collections in a botanical garden is to serve as a reference. But labeling all plants with a 3x4" sign can be problematic. For example, in the Orchid Center, many of our epiphytic orchids are permanently installed in trees. It's tricky trying to attach signs to a tree. In addition, many orchids are tiny -smaller than their label. And, finally, one has to consider the questionable aesthetic appeal of a bed orchids thickly planted with tombstone-like labels. For all of these reasons, very few of the orchids in the FOC have the big black metal labels that are standard issue in outdoor gardens.

To find out the name of one of the orchids in our permanent collection, you'll have to look a bit closer for the data card, one of which is pictured above. In most cases the data card is wired to the pot, or, if the orchid is in the ground, wired to stake. The data card will tell you the genus, species, accession number, source and nativity for that particular plant. In addition, many of our plants have a handwritten white vinyl label, which gives us a place for additional notes.

And remember, you can always ask one of us! Sarah, Derek and I are always happy to answer your questions.


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