Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Interesting Facts About Orchids.

Orchids are beautiful flowers that, given the right care, can bloom for years on end. Their sheer diversity alone makes them one of the world's most unique plants. Though, there are a few key facts about Orchids that most people do not realize.

A Dendrobium Orchid

  • Current estimates suggest that over 26,000 varieties of Orchids exist globally. That's as many types of Orchids as bony fish in the sea. Orchid species outnumber bird species two to one and outnumber mammal species four to one!
  • The word Orchid originates from the Greek word 'orchis', which means testicle. That's right... one of the world's most gorgeous plants is named after the male genitalia. It comes from the general appearance of the plant's roots, which the ancient Greeks thought looked like a pair of testicles.
  • The Orchid Family accounts for around ten percent of all seed plants estimated to exist on Earth.
  • Surprisingly, Orchids are a remarkable food source. People from all over the globe (except America it seems), enjoy many different species of Orchids as food. Some eat the vegetation and leaves as vegetables. Others eat the roots and tubers like potatoes. In fact, you probably consume Orchid-based matter on a regular basis and don't even realize it. Why? One of the most popular varieties of Orchid is Vanilla! It has been used for eating and cooking for over a thousand years. The ancient Aztecs have been shown to be big fans of Vanilla.
  • Many varieties of Orchids are used as decorations to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead!
  • There is one very special species of Orchid that blooms only at night and closes its flowers during the day. It is known as Bulbophyllum nocturnum. They exist only on the island of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. They're so rare, they were only just recently discovered in 2011!
Bulbophyllum nocturnum

You see, Orchids truly are one of nature's greatest success stories. How wonderful that we get to invite them into our homes!

Oh... and I hope this blog made a certain special person (you know who you are *wink-wink*) a little bit happier. ;-)

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