Check out these five interesting facts about one of the most popular flowers in the world!
#1 There are more than 25,000 different types of orchids existing naturally.
Believe it or not, orchids make up the planet’s largest group of blooming flowers. They grow in every continent but one (sadly, you won’t find them in icy Antarctica), and come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. Also, about 99% of orchids today are within reach and available for cultivation, while 1% of tropical varieties still grow in virtually inaccessible habitats and have only been seen a handful of times.
#2 Orchids come in every color of the rainbow, with the exception of one.
Whatever the occasion or mood, it’s likely there’s a color of orchid to express it. Orchids bloom in every color—from deep fuchsia to white to green—except for one: black! And although they’re rare, there are even true blue orchids, and ones that bloom in dual color combos like lavender and pink or green and yellow. That’s just one of many reasons why orchids can be so versatile, acting as stand-alone centerpieces or as exotic additions to other arrangements.
#3 They’re still hunted and traded by avid international collectors.
Despite their rarity, orchids are still sought out by international collectors, enthusiasts and hunters for their long-lasting and record-holding blooms.
#4 Once an expensive and highly demanded commodity, orchids were believed to have healing, disease-fighting and protective properties.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the orchid was used to help cure coughs and lung illnesses. In ancient Greece, orchids were associated with virility and male fertility, the belief being that if women ate orchid flowers, they would bear a son to continue the family tradition. The Aztecs were known to drink a mixture of vanilla orchid flowers and chocolate to give them strength. And believe it or not—the Victorians were so mystified by the orchid’s irresistible beauty that they collected and displayed them like treasures.
#5 The orchid flower gives us… VANILLA! (Yup, you heard right.)
You know the vanilla extract you pour into all those cake and cookie recipes? It comes from the orchid! Vanilla is a species of orchid, and vanilla extract comes from the orchid Vanilla planifolia. It’s the only orchid that produces a fruit that can be eaten, which also means—you guessed it—vanilla is a fruit!