- Documentary 00:11:57

During the Enlightenment in the 17th century, science established a new worldview. People were freed from the earlier myths and fantasy, and started to understand the world with more detailed observation and documentation. Certain European countries had established themselves as major world powers and had colonized, exploited and plundered other parts of the world. During this period, exotic animals and plants became symbols of status and taste for the bigwigs in Europe. Their mysterious colors and forms attracted buyers to make remarkably high bids. The untamed and mysterious orchids, native in the tropical forests, were one of the plants that caught the attention of British and French people in the 18th century.

In the era of orchid fever, orchid hunters ventured one after another into the dangerous jungle to look for the rare orchid species that were yet to be known. Today, the thousands of known orchid species might have lost some of their rarity and mystery and the ardent orchid collectors are on the decrease. Still, history has already left its mark on each of the greenhouses, where the exploration of these species is taking place in a variety of ways across continents.

In one of native habitat - Taiwan, epiphytic orchids have been integrated into their culture, literature, idioms and daily life. Their symbolic significance is undeniable on this land. Yu-Chun Lo wonders how collectors around the world admire these orchids. And if the perspectives differ from one cultural context to another. This documentary visits epiphytic orchid fanatics in Taiwan, a native habitat, and the Netherlands, a foreign land. By following their pursuit, harvest, acquisition and admiration, it is shown that their culture and upbringing have an influence on how they deal with these plants.




January, 2020