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The Rainforest Rambles returns from winter hibernation to bring you the beauty of orchids recently added to the exhibit.

The “Butterfly Rainforest” has always displayed a few orchids, including the Noble Dendrobium, Dendrobium nobile, and the Jewel Orchid, Ludisia discolor, both of which are still blooming. But having a large number of orchids in bloom at the same has been rare in recent years—until now.

Bear in mind orchids are not generally pollinated by butterflies, though many have relationships with specific moth species, including Darwin’s Hawk Moth. Orchids, however, are still a well-known and attractive component of a rain forest ecosystem. So our 45 new orchids join a wide array of plants in the “Butterfly Rainforest” that are not necessarily for butterflies, such as Begonias, bromeliads and the Floss Silk Tree.

Though spring officially begins in 19 days, it has clearly already arrived in North Central Florida, making the “Rainforest” even more attractive as well as making this a perfect time to visit before the Florida summer temperatures rise into the ‘90s. The additional orchids will be displayed through May, along with an increased number of Blue Morpho butterflies to help celebrate the Florida Museum’s 100th anniversary as the state natural history museum. (More on the Blue Morphos to come).

Florida Museum photos by Ryan Fessenden