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If you, like me, were introduced to orchids via The Big Sleep, then you distrusted them because “their flesh is too much like the flesh of men.” Ominous! Then again, if your only experience of orchids is through Adaptation, you should know that there’s more to these flowers than getting super, super high. For a few more days at the U.S. Botanic Gardens, “Orchids: A Cultural Odyssey” traces how the flower has entered various aspects of the culture: Its pollen traces can be found in art, in the research of Charles Darwin, in pottery movements (pottery movements!), and in a banknote from Sri Lanka that shows an orchid on one side and a dragon on the other. This last may be of special note to the kids: That dragon has a life-size analog outside, where, patterned after the Sri Lankan bill, the fiery lizard pops through the trees, sprouting orchids from every pore.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 10 A.M. TO 5 P.M. DAILY TO APRIL 11 AT THE UNITED STATES BOTANIC GARDEN, 100 MARYLAND AVE. SW. FREE. (202) 225-8333.