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BONNIE’S GARDEN: Six Things You Never Knew About Orchids

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Orchids are one of the most popular blooming plants given for Valentine’s Day. With Valentine’s Day coming soon, here are a few interesting facts about orchids.

  1. Orchids are the largest family of blooming plants with over 27,000 naturally occurring species.
  2. Orchids are native to every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica, leading some scientists to believe that orchids existed even before continental drift occurred.
  3. The smallest orchid is a newly discovered species in Brazil, with flowers less than a half a millimeter across!
  4. The largest orchid is the Grammataphyllum Speciosum, native to Indonesia, with single specimens estimated at weighing more than a ton and stems up to 25 feet long.
  5. The only orchid in the world grown for anything other than the beauty and interest of the flowers is the Vanilla Planifolia, from which vanilla beans are obtained. Each flower only lasts one day so plants on vanilla plantations are pollinated by hand.
  6. To make sure they get pollinated, orchids are amazingly inventive. There are orchids that mimic the scent of other flowers in the vicinity known to contain a lot of nectar—only they contain none. There are other orchids which have flowers that actually “trap” an insect temporarily, letting them go only after pollen pellets have been attached.

Oncidium orchids produce small flowers in clusters that, from a distance, can look like a swarm of bees. They’re pollinated by swarms of other bees trying to sting them to death.

The sneakiest ones produce flowers that look like insects and even produce a scent that smells like the pheromones released by the female. They’re pollinated by males who attempt to mate with the flowers!

Orchids are 20% off starting Thursday. Get your Valentine an orchid!

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