While the orchids are gorgeous at New York Botanical Garden’s “The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden” one of the standout flowers is the large pale pink Medinilla Magnifica. On my two visits to the show everyone was asking what is that? Luckily a nearby NYBG staff member was happy to tell us it was Medinilla Magnifica. And magnificent it is - as the outer leaves unfold to reveal the cluster of dark pink in the interior.
A quick search on the internet for more information reveals that of the approximately 400 species of Medinilla the magnifica can be found and purchased as a houseplant. Medinilla magnifica originates in the mountains of the Phillipines and is an epiphyte (grows on trees but doesn’t obtain it’s nutrients from the tree). Apparently the late Belgian King Boudewijn was a big fan and grew the flower in the royal conservatories. The medinilla appeared on the 10,000 Belgian franc bank note.
Magnificent and with connections to royalty - now that’s a flower with a great history!