Six Reasons Why Orchids Are Cool

Think you can tell the difference between an orchid and a praying mantis? Or an orchid and a sugar flower?

See for yourself!

Here are six fun facts about Orchidaceae—one of the largest, most diverse, and most beloved of all plant families.

A beautiful (and edible) orchid in an ice sphere adorns this cocktail from chef Daniel Boulud. Photo via marthastewart.com

Why, yes, that’s an orchid in my cocktail

Noted French chef Daniel Boulud worked with a mixologist to come up with a white cosmopolitan recipe that calls for elderflower liqueur and a frozen orchid sphere.

The “aromatic” Platanthera obtusata, by Jason Hollinger [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

File this under “orchids are clever”

Researchers have discovered that a bog orchid (Platanthera obtusata) lures its pollinator—tiger mosquitoes—by giving off a smell similar to human body odor.

Sugar Cymbidium orchid by Robert Haynes. Photo ©Tony Harris

Have your orchid and eat it, too

London-based sugar artist Robert Haynes specializes in creating, and teaching others how to make, “botanically correct sugar flowers.”

The remarkably floral orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) fools many a pollinator. Photo by Frupus [CC 2.0]

Bee careful…

Entomologists are studying the evolution of a praying mantis that looks like an orchid. The female Malaysian orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) attracts orchid pollinators such as bees—and then eats them. 

Get a really special orchid for a loved one…

(Your name here) orchid

Virginia orchid grower will register a new orchid hybrid in your name with the Royal Horticultural Society (the official international register) for $1,500.

Out-of-sight, out-of-mind until bloom time

Orchid boarding school

Some nurseries will care for your orchids if you’re busy, on vacation, or simply prefer to have experts raise them until the plants are ready to bloom. “As your orchid begins to send up a bloom spike, it is tenderly staked and tied, ready to return to you as it comes into bloom,” says Hamilton Orchids & Plantscapes in Sonoma, California.

Author: 
Renee T.
Title: 
Writer
Published: 
January 31, 2017

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