Stanhopea is a genus of neotropical orchids pollinated by fragrance collecting Euglossine bees. Their powerful, complex fragrances and remarkable pollination biology make them an extraordinarily fascinating group of orchids. Euglossine bee pollinated orchids are a particular focus of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s extensive collection of orchid species, and Stanhopea is among the collection’s best represented and best documented genera, with 72 taxa.
At the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Stanhopea species are displayed year round on a rotational basis and are permanently installed in the 16,000 sq. ft. Fuqua Orchid Center, allowing educators and docents to introduce concepts of pollination biology, coevolution and plant diversity to students and visitors.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden actively seeks opportunities to provide material from its orchid collection to other institutions. ABG’s micropropagation lab produces material for ex-situ conservation and for augmentation of tropical orchid collections. High priority Stanhopea species (those that are naturally rare, rare in cultivation or have wild provenance) are pollinated for seedling production, data production and distribution. In addition, high priority accessions are propagated vegetatively for back up. Stanhopea accessions are extensively documented. Dissection images, phenology and capsule maturation data are stored in ABG’s database along with eventual links referencing DNA barcodes and herbarium vouchers.