For the first time ever, a new hybrid orchid at the iconic New York Botanical Garden is becoming a star. In fact, you might even know her from the silver screen. Named after Awkwafina, the American actress who starred in last year's box office hits Crazy Rich Asians and Oceans 8, the orchid may just steal the stage at the garden's annual flower show this year, which runs from February 23 to April 28, 2019. The is the first time the NYBG has named an orchid after a public figure.
The star orchid, whose full name is Vanda Awkwafina, was obtained from RF Orchids in Homestead, Florida and officially registered in the actress's name with the International Orchid Register.
"We think Awkwafina is the perfect choice because of her accomplishments in music and film as well as her prominence as a native New Yorker," said Marc Hachadourian, NYBG's Director of Glasshouse Horticulture and Senior Curator of Orchids in a press release. "The New York Botanical Garden has a commitment to saving the plants of the world and Earth's biodiversity, and naming an orchid after Awkwafina helps us build awareness of our long-standing commitment to orchid cultivation, research, and conservation at a time when climate change and other environmental challenges are increasingly threatening plant life on Earth."
Of course, the actress is thrilled as well. Awkwafina took to Twitter to share the good news, explaining that her mother used to bring her to the New York Botanical Garden as a child.
Particularly significant to Singapore's orchid culture, the Vanda hybrid is the most prized of all tropical orchids. A related hybrid, the Vanda 'Miss Joaquin' is the country's national flower. This variety is one of few orchid types that blooms in a myriad of colors, from bright apricot oranges and yellows to bold blues, purples, and reds. Sometimes, you may even spot patterns on their petals, too.
In its 17th run, the annual orchid exhibit will pay tribute to Singapore, the "City in a Garden" and one of the world's most renowned orchid cultures. Developed in partnership with Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens, the show will feature beautiful displays, special events, and orchid varieties for purchase. Tickets can be purchased at nybg.org.