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Kew Gardens Orchid festival returns for 2023

Saturday 4 February – Sunday 5 March 2023 at the Princess of Wales Conservatory

  • Kew’s 2023 Orchid festival is inspired by the biodiversity of Cameroon
  • Horticultural displays and living plant sculptures throughout the Princess of Wales Conservatory
  • Orchids at Kew Gardens is a perfect Valentine’s Day gift
  • Showcase of RBG Kew’s collaborative scientific projects in Cameroon
  • £1 entry for recipients of Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Legacy Benefits

Back bigger and better than ever for 2023, Kew Gardens’ much-loved Orchid festival returns to the Princess of Wales Conservatory from Saturday 4 February to Sunday 5 March 2023. Taking inspiration from the beauty and biodiversity of Cameroon, Orchids 2023 is a vibrant celebration of colour to brighten up the winter months, and is the first time Kew’s Orchid festival will celebrate an African nation. Encompassing a series of stunning horticultural displays and living sculptures, the festival takes places across the ten different climatic zones which make up Kew’s state-of-the-art Princess of Wales Conservatory, replicating a series of fascinating global ecosystems under one roof.

Stunning displays

Orchids 2023 will highlight the varied landscapes and native wildlife of Cameroon, with larger-than-life sculptures hand-crafted by a team of expert horticulturists from real plants, including an amazing array of colourful orchids. Visitors can encounter towering giraffe sculptures and a troop of gorillas, alongside magnificent roaring lions and wallowing hippo arrangements, highlighting the incredible biodiversity and awe-inspiring wildlife of this West African nation. Orchids After Hours will also return for 2023, with live music, food and drink in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

Solene Dequiret, Supervisor of the Princess of Wales Conservatory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says:
“We always look forward to the return of the Orchid festival and this year we are excited to welcome visitors to enjoy a host of stunning displays inspired by the wonderful flora and fauna of Cameroon. The Orchid festival is always the perfect antidote to the chillier days of winter and provides us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase a selection of incredible plants which transform the Princess of Wales Conservatory, as well as allowing us to highlight the vital work of our science colleagues and partners working in Cameroon.”

RBG Kew and Cameroon

RBG Kew works with partners across Cameroon on several vital scientific and research projects, including collaborating with the National Herbarium of Cameroon and others to identify Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) in the country.

This assessment offers a practical, rigorous means of identifying priority areas for site-based conservation and ensuring the long-term survival of Cameroon’s endemic, threatened and socio-economically important plant species. Recent fieldwork has focussed on Central, South and Littoral Regions and has been combined with collecting seed of threatened tree species.

Since 2004, scientists at Kew have also been working with partners to document the biodiversity of Cameroon’s Ebo Forest with a view to designating the area as a Tropical Important Plant Area. The Ebo Forest, one of the largest intact rainforests in Cameroon, is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including the only population of chimpanzee species that use twigs to fish out termites, and stones to crack open nuts. Researchers have also uncovered an incredible diversity of plant life in Ebo forest. By 2020, 14 plant species new-to-science have been discovered in Ebo (with more yet to be named) and over 75 threatened species of plants have been recorded there.  Threatened species from this area include several plants known only from Ebo forest, such as Inversodicraea ebo, found on rocks within river rapids, and Kupeantha ebo, a small tree related to coffee.

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