Aung San Suu Kyi, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela have all changed the world in one way or another. And from Cymbidium Margaret Thatcher to Phalaenopsis Aung San Suu Kyi, these leaders have been forever immortalized in the botanical world as well.
Having an orchid named after you is a big deal! People have been fined, jailed, and killed in attempting to have a species named after them. There are two well-established ways of getting your name on an orchid: discovering a new species or making a new hybrid. To find a new species, you have to first travel to a country with a large amount of orchids in hopes of discovering something. After that, you have to bring it back to your home country with the proper paperwork of exportation and importation, which at times may even be harder than finding an undiscovered species.
Hybridizing a new species is easier to do but still a challenge. You need to have the right plants, lab equipment, knowledge, environment, and expertise to successfully propagate an orchid cross.
Evie Cutting, who is retiring today after 24 years as The Huntington’s special events manager, has bypassed those tried and true methods to follow in the footsteps of the famous cohort. The Huntington has named an orchid after her to commemorate and honor her hard work and dedication. Paphiopedilum Evie Cutting is a bulldog-type slipper orchid with pink petals and a white dorsal. It is a hybrid between Paphiopedilum Peachie and Paphiopedilum Mystic Knight, which are both bulldog-type slipper orchids.
Paphiopedilum Evie Cutting was registered on Feb. 2, 2013, with the International Orchid Register, which is managed by the Royal Horticultural Society in The United Kingdom. Every time we see this orchid in bloom, we will always be reminded of the devotion Evie had for The Huntington and for the enthusiasm that came with it.
Randy Shulman, vice president for advancement, commends Evie for “her can-do spirit” and “her exceptional hospitality and thoughtfulness.” From everybody at The Huntington, we wish Evie the best.
Brandon Tam is The Huntington’s orchid specialist.