Ever seen this flower before? Here's a hint: You're not likely to find one blooming in a local back yard.
It's a chocolate cherry orchid, one of the many tropical plants on display at this year's annual Macy's Flower Show.
The theme is "The Painted Garden." A team from Bachman's has spent many months planning and growing exotic plants, followed by nine full days of installation, to transform Macy's eighth-floor auditorium into a Southeast Asian-inspired garden getaway. Think of it as a passage to India without the airfare.
This year's show is a kaleidoscope of brilliant color, designed with color-block plantings that take their cue from sets painted to celebrate Indian architecture.
The centerpiece of the show is a giant Asian elephant statue covered with a blanket of dried and fresh plants and flowers and bearing a howdah (Indian carriage) filled with dozens of tropical blooms.
Bachman's designers Karen Ortiz and Leah Schmidt used 20 different kinds of plant material to create the blanket alone.
You can experience this year's flower show firsthand starting Sunday, March 24, when the show opens for its two-week run. (For information on hours and related special events, including classes and the Bouquet of the Day, visit www.macys.com).
In the meantime, if you need your flower fix, look for a video tour of this year's show that will be posted Saturday on startribune.com.
And if you know your stuff when it comes to plants, see how many of the 20 plants you can identify in the elephant's blanket.