Orchids

<p>Orchid species in the orchid section</p>

Zygonisia cynosure ‘Blue Birds’

The final A to Z orchid (drum roll, please)!

Zygonisia cynosure ‘Blue Birds’

More than 3,000 newly developed, man-made orchid hybrids are registered every year—‘Blue Birds’ is a glorious recent addition. Can you find the eponymous bird (in mid-flight) in this orchid?

Ypsilopus erectus

Out of Africa

Ypsilopus erectus

From the hills of Kenya to the continent's edge in South Africa are found five species of Ypsilopus, all with diamond-shaped, pointy lips.

Uncifera acuminata

Look for the hook!

Uncifera acuminata

An extremely rare orchid, its name is Latin for “bearing a hook,” referring to the spur found on all six plants in this Himalayan genus. Explorers brought this orchid to England, where it was named by John Lindley, considered the father of orchid taxonomy, in 1859.

Tolumnia Genting Pink Lady

A dancing lady

Tolumnia Genting Pink Lady

Showy doesn’t begin to describe it! You can see why some modern Tolumnia hybrids are called “dancing ladies,” as they spread their colorful "skirts."

Warmingia eugenii

Caution: hot metal

Warmingia eugenii

Only half of all orchids are fragrant—but what a range of scents! There are orchids that smell like grapefruit, coconut, cinnamon, citrus, other flowers (rose, jasmine, freesia), vanilla…and rotting meat (the better to attract flies). Warmingia eugenii conjures the smell of hot metal.

Stanhopea x horichiana

A brief bloom with a powerful message…

Stanhopea x horichiana

Mother Nature created this cross—like all Stanhopea, its powerfully fragrant flowers hang below the plant, but last just a few days.

Quekettia vermeuleniana

A mini among minis

Quekettia vermeuleniana

Some orchids are huge, with plants weighing up to two tons, but some are truly tiny; the flower of this species is just .1 inch in size—a whole .04 inch larger than its aptly named cousin, Quekettia pygmaea.

Restrepia brachypus

Venezuela, anyone?

Restrepia brachypus

Traveling to the wet mountain forests of western South America soon? Climb up to about 4,000 to 10,000 feet to see this unusual orchid!

Odontonia Yellow Parade 'Alpine'

A happy hybrid

Odontonia Yellow Parade 'Alpine'

Unlike most other plant families, orchids can be crossed at both the genus level (creating an alliance) and the species level. Cross an Odontoglossum with a Miltonia, and what do you get? An Odontonia—one of many Odontoglossum alliances.

Neofinetia falcata

The samurai orchid

Neofinetia falcata

In Japan, the native orchid Neofinetia falcata, known as fuh-ran, or “the orchid of the winds,” has highly prized, variegated foliage and a small, delicate, and fragrant flower with a long nectar spur. Its nickname, the “samurai orchid,” harks to the time when only the warrior class was allowed to grow it—or even possess it.

Subscribe to Orchids