Penn State

Flower power: Exotic displays of orchids capture eyes and noses of spectators

A Phalaenopsis Orchidum Harliquin on display at the 50th Annual Orchid Show hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Orchid Society at the Snider Ag Arena on Saturday, April 11, 2015.
A Phalaenopsis Orchidum Harliquin on display at the 50th Annual Orchid Show hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Orchid Society at the Snider Ag Arena on Saturday, April 11, 2015. CDT photo

In spring, a young gardener’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of flowers — and the 50th annual Central Pennsylvania Orchid Show at the Snider Agricultural Arena was as good a place as any to meet that special seedling.

Sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Orchid Society, Saturday’s show featured 18 different exhibits full of orchids with names like Dendrobium aggregatum, Epicattleya, and Eria coronaria —in other words, some really pretty flowers.

“They’re exotic. Even the local ones are exotic,” Leon Glicenstein, a plant breeder from State College, said.

Glicenstein walked the floor at the event, answering questions for browsing visitors. He said that there are between 25,000 to 30,000 species of orchid in the world, ranging in diameter from a quarter of an inch to 5 inches.

Carl and Karen Knowlton, of State College, appreciated the varieties on display. They’ve attended the show on and off for the past 10 years.

“This is beautiful, to see orchids you don’t see anywhere else,” Karen Knowlton said.

Across from the exhibit, vendors from as close as Lancaster and as a far away as Ohio set up booths with flowers just waiting for someone to give them a nice home.

Edgar Stehli traveled all the way from Broadview Heights, Ohio, to promote Windswept-in-Time, an orchid business he’s been running out of his home. Stehli has been growing orchids for almost 20 years and still enjoys the flower’s particular brand of intrigue.

“Every time I go to a show like this I see something I’ve never seen before,” Stehli said.

The show, which is free and open to the public, will continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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