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Nation's Largest Orchid Show Under Way At New York Botanical Garden

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The nation's largest curated show featuring orchids was under way this week at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

As CBS 2's Emily Smith reported, visitors to the show at the Botanical Garden in Bronx Park can feast their eyes on thousands of brilliantly-colored orchids. They are on display from the Brazilian jungle, Madagascar, gardens in France, and within the U.S.

The first orchids visitors see are intertwined in a permanent gallery of palm trees from around the world, in a Victorian-style glass conservatory with 90-foot ceilings.

But Karen Daubmann, associate vice president for exhibitions at the Botanical Garden, said: "This is just the beginning. You haven't seen anything yet."

As the orchid show continues on with plants inside trees, to show how they grow in nature in trees' canopies.

There are different types of orchids – including one that produces the only true vanilla.

"When you get real vanilla ice cream that has the little freckles in it, you are actually eating vanilla orchid seeds," Daubmann said.

There is also chocolate, or at least an orchid that smells like it – known as the oncidium heaven scent.

"I guess in heaven, it's all chocolate, like Willy Wonka's factory," Smith remarked as Daubmann showed her the orchids.

Orchids have a variety of scents. A purple orchid emitted a smell of hyacinths, baby powder and lilac.

And some other orchids recall the beauty of the olden days.

"A lot of our visitors remember these as being sort of old-fashioned; what their grandparents; their grandfather gave to their grandmother as a corsage. Oftentimes for Easter, you'll see lady with a huge wrist corsage on her dress, and they also smell delicious too," Daubmann said.

Some orchids mimic butterflies or fancy dresses.

"So the big full skirt, and little clasped hands, and a little, tiny head at the top -- we call these dancing lady orchids," Daubmann said. "It's fun to point out to kids they can see it."

And the Darwin star looks like what else, but a star.

Orchids represent the largest family of flowering plants, with more than 30,000 species. They grow on every continent except Antarctica.

Patti Doyle-Weber was visiting the exhibition just after returning home from the International Orchid Show in Southeast Asia.

"A friend gave me one 18 years ago, and I found that out my house had good light, and benign neglect was all you needed for orchids," she said.

In some parts of the world – particularly in Asia – orchids grow wild like dandelions or daisies. But they fascinate people in every country and culture.

You should water your orchid once a week at most, or just add a few ice cubes.

The Orchid Show is on display through April 22, which is Earth Day.

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