The Amazing Orchid Flower
orchid flower is an exotic perennial plant that lives from one year to the next.
Once perceived as delicate and demanding, orchid growing is now commonly done
with only moderate effort. Today, there are over 25,000 species known world
wide. It is one of the largest families of flowering plants on earth.
A myriad of orchid
plants grow on every continent except for Antarctica, and thrive in just
about any climate except for deserts and salt water.
Orchids have a distinct and undeniable
mystique. Beauty alone cannot explain the world's fascination with these
When it comes to variety, complexity and
elegance, they are unlike any other. Over the past two centuries, their enormous
popularity has become known as "orchid mania."
The Lively History of the Orchid Flower
The earliest accounts of orchids are found in
Chinese and Japanese drawings and writings, around 700 B.C. During ancient
times, these plants were described and used as herbs and cures for many
During the early 1700s, adventurers, botanists,
and the church all ventured into foreign countries and would return with
precious orchid flowers as gifts. People were astounded by their uniqueness.
In the 1800s, Victorian society became
captivated by these ornamental flowers. To satisfy the growing demand for more
flamboyant and beautiful varieties, explorers went on plant hunting missions to
gather as many species from the wild as they could, and ship them back to Europe
in tiny greenhouses. Many orchid flowers never survived the trip, and the value
of the orchid only increased.
Today orchid growing is done in mass
quantities, and most orchids are as affordable as any other flower. Still,
certain highly prized orchids are treasures, and a single plant can sell for
many thousands of dollars.
Did You Know?
- Vanilla flavoring comes from the cured seed
pods of an orchid species widely grown in the tropics. These vanilla plants,
which are actually vines, are some of the longest orchid plants, reaching
lengths of well over 100 feet.
- Orchids come in every color except for true
black. Some of the flowers are so dark they are mistaken for black.
- The smallest species is the size of a dime,
while the largest orchids weigh several hundred pounds.
- Certain varieties can live to be up to 100
There are thousands of species of orchids to
choose from and they can be grown in greenhouses, conservatories, outdoors and
indoors. Learn more about orchid
flower care and cultivation, and discover easy ways to grow and look after
these incredible plants.