Everyone already knows that orchids are insanely beautiful and exotic flowers. But what most people don’t know is that orchids are super-duper interesting too. Orchid facts are downright weird and wonderful—and we’re going to give you the best ones!
So sit back and let us share the wackiest, most interesting facts about orchids, one of nature’s most elegant and striking creations.
Orchids are the Largest Family of Flowering Plants
Orchids make up the largest family of flowering plants in the world, with over 25,000 varieties of documented species. Conservatively estimated, scientists are discovering 200 to 300 new orchid species per year.
In fact, although orchids are considered tropical flowers, they can be found growing on every continent (except Antarctica).
Some Orchids Boast Extremely Bizarre Appearances
Depending on their climate, orchids come in nearly every size, shape, and color.
Also, orchids—like humans—sport a bilaterally symmetrical appearance, meaning if you cut them in half vertically, both sides will mirror each other.
Among the wildest and wackiest looking orchids are the owl orchid, moth orchid, naked guy orchid, and monkey orchid. Just take a look and tell us these orchids aren’t super weird!
Orchids and Insects are BFFs
One of the more interesting facts about orchids is the special bond they share with insects—basically, they’re best buds!
In order to woo their insect friends for some much-needed pollination, their petals resemble the color and shape of female insects. For that reason, male insects love to come in contact with orchid pollen and happily deliver it to the next orchid.
Some Orchids are Actually Parasitic
Unfortunately, not all orchid facts can be as flattering as this flower’s appearance! It turns out that, unlike most other flowers, some species of orchids don’t produce food (energy) from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Instead, they get their food from fungi that live and grow inside their roots.
Like Lady Gaga, they prefer to do their own thing!
Orchids Gave Us Vanilla
Vanilla orchids carry vanilla beans in their pod, which is commercially extracted and used in all kinds of cosmetics and foods.
So the next time you’re in your pajamas, watching Netflix, and eating vanilla ice cream straight from the tub, you should take a quick moment and thank orchids. They deserve it!
Orchids Get Their Name From the Greek Word for ‘Testicle’… Gross!
A list of orchid flower facts wouldn’t be complete without some mention of how they got their name – so buckle up for a bizarre one. Orchids are well known for being delicate and sophisticated. It’s kind of their thing! But despite their elegance and beauty, the origin of the name orchid is quite the opposite, to say the least.
According to Ancient Greeks, orchids resembled the male genitalia – so they named them órkhis, meaning “testicle” (yes, we’re questioning their judgment, too!). For that reason, orchids have long been a symbol of virility, sexuality, and fertility.
And it’s said that Greek women believed that if the father of the unborn child ate orchid tubers, then the baby would be a boy. If the mother ate them, it would be a girl. (We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news, though: the science is sadly still out on the Greek orchid-eating baby theory.)
Orchid Hunting in Victorian Times Was No Joke
Compared to other flowers, orchids are extremely valuable and in demand, thanks to their rare, delicate blooms and unusual appearance. Experts on orchid flower facts tell us this was especially true during the Victorian era.
During this time, professional orchid hunters would venture far away to tropical areas—such as the Amazon, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea—to find these exotic flowers and return them to their European countries for hefty sums.
But orchid hunting definitely wasn’t a walk in the park. Many of these brave adventurers fell victim to dangerous terrain, deadly diseases, predatory animals, and cutthroat rival hunters.
Orchids are Notoriously Tough to Grow
Due to their incredibly tiny seeds, orchids are super hard to grow and care for. But the good thing is that an orchid pod can contain up to 3 million seeds. So if your first attempt doesn’t work, just try again!
Also, just like their wide variety of shapes, sizes, and appearances, orchids vary widely in lifespan. Some only bloom for a few hours, while others can bloom for as long as six months!
As the orchid facts tell us, these unique blooms aren’t just pretty faces with no substance. They’re awesome and definitely one of our favorite flowers! If you’d like to grab some orchids to go with your newfound orchid flower facts, why not hop on over to The Bouqs Co. and snag a Bouq handcrafted by one of our artisan florists? We know you’ll love them as much as we do!Shop All