Erotic, Enticing Orchids at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Wesley Higgins is the head of systematics, or the study of Earth’s diversity of life, at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Florida. He is the co-author of “The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Illustrated Dictionary of Orchid Genera,” the most comprehensive and extensively illustrated account of orchid genera to date. Its concise entries provide details of nomenclature, classification, original publication, etymology, and geographic range, along with a brief description and color images of representative flowers.

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, are extensive botanical gardens dedicated to research and collections of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads, and their canopy ecosystems. The Gardens maintain the most diverse collection of bromeliads in the world and feature over 20,000 plants from some 6,000 species in 1,200 genera from 214 plant families, including 6,000 live orchids.

I had the luxury of wandering through these gardens a few years ago, on a visit with my aunt and uncle. Without exaggeration, botanical gardens are at the top of my list of places to hang out in.

Not a cultivator or orchids or in any way truly informed about the endless species or orchids, I do have a deeply personal relationship with these erotic “creatures”. For me, they are symbols of womanly beauty and sensuality, alluring and an endless feast to the eye, mind and imagination.

Enjoy the entire LA Times photo show of orchids from “The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Illustrated Dictionary of Orchid Genera. A