Orchid Hunter Tam Will Speak about Searching for Rare Species in Ecuador


Orchid hunter Brandon Tam will speak about his travels in Ecuador.

Brandon Tam, an Orchid Collection Specialist at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, will speak to the Malibu Orchid Society at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18, at the Hart Lounge, in the Community Methodist Church, 801, Via de la Paz.

The specialist will take orchid lovers on an expedition through Ecuador, which has one of the highest orchid species densities in the world. The lecture is free, and residents are welcome to attend.

There are more than 4,200 documented orchid species distributed along Ecuador’s various ecosystems. While some species are found on peaks as high as 13,000 feet above sea level, the majority, however, grow in the humid cloud forests.

Tam will showcase the incredible variety of orchids he encountered in various habitats ranging from 4,000 to more than 10,000 feet.

He will also discuss his mission to find the elusive Slenipedium aequinoctiale, a rare orchid species.

The rare Slenipdeium aequinoctiale was sought by Brandon Tam.

His grandmother first introduced him to orchids when he was seven by giving him a white cymbidium.

During high school, he volunteered at The Huntington. When he graduated at age 16, Tam was offered a full-time position as an orchid collection specialist by Dr. James Folsom, Director of the Botanical Gardens.

While working with Folsom to reinvigorate The Huntington’s orchid collection, Tam attended California State University Polytechnic, Pomona, earning his bachelor’s degree in plant science in 2015.

Tam oversees one of the largest orchid collections in the United States and one of the most diverse collections in the world, which has grown from 2000 to more than 10,000 plants in the past ten years.

The Huntington’s orchid collection is housed in more than 26,000 square feet of growing area, which includes the Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory and three collection greenhouses, dedicated specifically for tropical plants.

Miltonia orchids grow in higher elevations of the Andes in Colombia, Panama and Ecuador.

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