Riverbanks Garden in full bloom for orchid festival

Sophie Pollock photos.

It’s something many might miss if it popped up on Jeopardy: “the largest family of angiosperms, or flowering plants, in the world.”

If you immediately said “What is the orchid family?” you know your flowers, but either way, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is the place to be this weekend to check out some of the more than 30,000 species of orchids.

Riverbanks has partnered with the South Carolina Orchid Society and Ikebana International Chapter 182 for the annual Orchids on the Riverbanks show, featuring hundreds of varieties of orchids from around the world as well as several Japanese-style flower arrangements.

The flowers are on display in the Magnolia Room at Riverbanks Botanical Garden, with a wide variety for sale. Guests can also get orchid-growing tips from friendly experts like Dave Grieve, treasurer of the South Carolina Orchid Society.

“There are at least 55 orchids native to South Carolina,” Grieve said. “A lot of people don’t know about that.”

Grieve also shared a tip for those unfamiliar with orchids to identify them. All the many kinds of orchids have one thing in common, he said: bilateral symmetry. If a line is drawn vertically down the middle of the flower, the two halves will be mirror images of each other.

The orchids on display this weekend come from all over the Carolinas. The festival continues Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and admission is free with paid general admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County