ASHEBORO, N.C. - During the entire month of May, the North Carolina Zoo, partnering with Seagrove Orchids, will host a display of orchids at the park's Africa Pavilion-the first of three tropical plant exhibits held there throughout 2009.

An upcoming July show will feature African exotic perennials, and African violets will highlight an October show. All three month-long displays will be part of the Tropical Plant Walk in the Pavilion.

The May event will feature more than 150 individual orchids, representing about 10-12 different types, including Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum, Oncidium, Dendrobium, Miltoniopsis and Epidendrum.

Most of the display's orchids are those that grow in the tropics. Much of the beauty of the flowers comes from specialized scents and shapes developed to attract pollinators.

The orchid display is centered around the Epiphyte Tree (in the center of the Pavilion) since more than half of all tropical orchids grow as epiphytes-plants that attach themselves to other plants for support yet are not parasitic and typically grow high in trees.

May's Pavilion orchid display is part of the zoo's larger "Birds and Blooms" special event, celebrating International Migratory Bird Day and Mother's Day.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor.