Orchids are very distinguishable flowers, thanks their unique characteristics.
Even if you don’t know a lot about orchids, you can still identify one, because of the way their petals are shaped and colored.
In this article, we’ll talk about 12 interesting and fun facts about orchid flowers that you probably didn’t know (or expect)!
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Orchids Have the Smallest Seeds In The World
Orchids have the smallest seeds of all flora. The Anoectochilus imitans, a New Caledonian species, is reported to be the tiniest of all, measuring only 0.05 mm in length.
A single orchid seedpod can contain up to 3 million seeds.
They’re the size of a mote of dust and only visible under a microscope.
This makes it a challenge to grow orchid from seeds, since they take very long to grow. It’s easier to grow orchids from seedlings.
If you take proper care of it, it will certainly feel amazing to finally see your immortal orchid growing and blooming, whether you grow them from seeds or seedlings.
Orchid Seeds Need Fungus to Grow
Most orchid seeds, especially terrestrial ones, are unable to germinate on their own because they lack a food reserve in the form of an endosperm or a big embryo.
They must first form a mycorrhizal association with a fungus that aids in the feeding of the seedling.
The Orchids Sold In Stores Are Probably Decades Old
Orchids usually take from 5 to 7 years to bloom once germinated, so the orchid flowers you see in stores are probably several years old.
That’s one of the reasons orchids can be expensive plants.
Orchids Are Technically Immortal
Even plants have a lifespan (sadly), but orchid flowers are among some of the species that don’t have a finite life span; if nothing threatens the orchid plant or kills its main structure, they can go on living indefinitely, for even over a century.
Yeah, orchids can live for over a hundred years!
But it’s important to know that orchids demand proper care, and they have a natural immune system that can be worn down over time by bacteria and fungi in the environment.
Orchids should be repotted every 2 or 3 years to avoid diseases.
The Biggest Orchid in The World Weighs Several Hundred Pounds
The biggest orchid in the world is from the species known as tiger orchid, sugar cane or Queen Of The Orchids, native to Indonesia.
It is reported to have grown to be over 8 feet tall and to weight over a 100 pounds.
You can see this beauty for yourself in the video below!
The smallest orchid can decorate a doll house
The world’s smallest orchid flower is officially the Platystele jungermannioides from the cloud forests of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.
This orchid is about the size of a dime, including the leaves, roots and flowers. It’s so tiny, it can decorate a doll house.
It’s important to note that a smaller orchid was recently discovered in Ecuador, but it hasn’t been officially described yet.
Orchids outnumber mammals and birds on the globe
Orchids are the world’s largest flowering plant family, with over 25,000 species.
There are more orchid species than birds and mammals!
Let that sink in. And if that wasn’t enough…
Hundreds Of New Species Of Orchid Flowers Are Discovered Every Year
New orchid species are found every year. Roughly 300 hundred species of orchid flowers are discovered every year.
If you don’t believe it, just research about new species of orchid flowers and you’ll always find new articles talking about new species.
Scientists believe there are more undiscovered orchid species in the world’s topical areas, and horticulturists hybridize orchids thus generating new species that would not occur in nature, which increases variety of orchids even more.
Some researchers discuss the reason why there are so many orchid species, and explain that one of the many reasons is Epiphytism – Most orchid genera that have seen an extremely high level of diversification grow as epiphytes, which means that they grow on top of other plants, in a sort of camaraderie.
The epiphytic habit allows for adaptation to divergent locations in trees.
Orchids have a symmetry similar to human faces
Something beautiful and poetic about orchids is that, like a human face, orchids have bilateral symmetry, which means that if you draw a line vertically down the middle of an orchid flower, the two halves are mirror images of one another.
Some people believe this is one of the reasons why orchid flowers are so popular.
Vanilla Is A Species Of Orchid
I bet you didn’t even imagine such a popular flavor is actually a species of orchid.
Vanilla orchids are a blooming plant genus with over 110 species in the orchid family (Orchidaceae).
The flat-leaved vanilla, which is native to Mexico and Belize and is used to make commercial vanilla flavoring, is the most well-known member, being one of the most popular orchid species, as well as one of the most common.
When you treat yourself to some high-quality vanilla ice cream, you’ll notice that the little black specks are vanilla seeds.
The fermenting fruits (‘pods’) of the vanilla orchid are used to make vanilla (Vanilla planifolia). That’s how all those seeds got into your ice cream in the first place.
The plant is cultivated by horticulturists all over Latin America for its tasty qualities.
Vanilla (particularly Vanilla planifolia) is a commercially important orchid genus that produces dried seed pods that are used in baking, perfume making, and aromatherapy.
Orchids Are Basically Hollywood Stars
Some species of orchids resemble different insects, such as bees, which makes curious insects approach and end up helping orchids pollinate by mistake!
Some orchid species also resemble animals, for example, the Dracula simia species looks like a monkey!
Orchids Blooms Vary a Lot
Some species of orchid flowers bloom for hours, others for months, and other species bloom periodically, for example, once every 2 to 5 years.