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Wednesday, Sep 19 2007
The orchid has plenty to recommend it: Its name comes from the Greek word for "testicle." Vanilla, an orchid plant, is derived from the Latin word for "vagina." Orchids in Turkey provide the flavoring and tenacity for salepi dondurma, also known as "fox testicle ice cream," which, according to desert lore, is sturdy enough to be used as a jump rope. (Ouch!) The "city of orchids," Peru's Moyobamba, has more than 3,500 native species. The tallest orchids rise more than 50 feet, and Africa's waxflower orchid has a foot-long labellum, which is pollinated by a moth's tongue that is — you better believe it — a foot long. Orchids have a black market that thrives better than that of any plant, save the ones that get you high. "Several million people worldwide now grow orchids," Eric Hansen writes in Orchid Fever. "This botanical craze has already eclipsed the 19th century frenzy for orchids as well as the tulip madness that gripped the Netherlands in the seventeenth century." If any of this sounds familiar, you’re sure to find a friend at Orchidfest. Presented by the S.F. Orchid Society, it features 23 local and international vendors displaying hundreds of flowers, along with lectures, demonstrations, and, with any luck, an orchid thief or two.
Sept. 22-23, 10 a.m., 2007

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Michael Leaverton


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