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American Orchid Society

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American Orchid Society Photo © Jamie McIntosh
Joining a flower society to connect with 16,000 others who tend your favorite bloom may seem like a superfluous expense in a hobby that features high-priced flowers and many necessary supply purchases, but a membership with the American Orchid Society (AOS) makes sense for new and experienced orchid growers. The orchid is a notoriously inscrutable flower, and connecting with others who have successfully grown it increases the chances that your investment will not be in vain.

Founded:

The AOS was founded in 1921 in Massachusetts by a group of 35 orchid enthusiasts.

Mission/Purpose

“The American Orchid Society’s mission is to promote and support the passion for orchids through education, conservation, and research.”

The fragile habitat of orchids in our shrinking world is threatened, and recognizing this, the AOS dedicates itself to conservation efforts designed to preserve orchids and their ecosystems. Education and research go hand-in-hand with conservation, and the AOS has awarded over a million dollars in grants and fellowships to support investigation into the biology of orchids.

Publication

Members of the AOS receive a monthly subscription to ORCHIDS. This glossy magazine features large color photos, a popular Q & A column, conservation and habitat information, orchid breeding trends, and of course many growing tips. A bonus to AOS members is the ability to purchase back issues at a reduced rate.

Fun Facts:

  • The golden official seal of the AOS depicts a Native American studying encyclia and phragmipedium orchids.
  • The first AOS orchid show was held in 1924 in Boston.
  • The AOS published its first periodical in 1932, then known as the AOS Bulletin.
  • The AOS left its long term residence at Harvard university for the warmer clime of West Palm Beach, FL in 1984.
  • The AOS established its online presence in 1996, with the website OrchidWeb.
  • The current AOS headquarters are in Coral Gables, FL.

Membership Benefits:

  • Subscription to ORCHIDS monthly magazine
  • Access to members-only features online
  • Free or discounted admission to many botanical gardens
  • Discount to a select number of orchid supply companies
  • $30 voucher to a choice of participating orchid vendors for two year membership purchases

Awards Program:

The AOS bestows 10 flower quality awards and 17 special annual awards to recognize excellence in orchid culture. Home orchid growers should look out for plants that have received the distinctive First Class Certificate, recognizing the highest quality orchid species or hybrids, as well as the Award of Distinction, which recognizes exciting breeding trends.

Events:

As a member of the AOS, you will have the inside scoop on local orchid shows and events in your region. Meetings held through your local AOS affiliate may include lectures, garden tours, and other social gatherings. Serious orchid growers may plan to attend the World Orchid Conference, held every three years in locations across the globe.

Website:

Visit the American Orchid Society at www.aos.org to access their orchid culture sheets, monthly checklists, pest and disease articles, and members-only materials.
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