Happy New Year, My Flowery Friends!
Last year has now come and gone, and I think we should start this year with some color shall we? And what better way to ring it in with one of the most colorfully diverse (and biologically diverse) family of flowers we have at SuEllen’s Floral Company…the ORCHID.
When we speak of orchids, we usually speak of a broad family of beautiful multicolored flowers called Orchidacaea. Yes, that is a difficult word to pronounce, so we all say orchids instead.
Along with the daisy family of flowers, the Asteraceae, the orchid is the largest family of flowers out there, with about 28,000 species across hundreds of genera (the plural of genus). Approximately 6% to 11% of all seeded plants are in the orchid family, which must make for some vibrant Thanksgiving dinners. In fact, there are twice as many orchid species than bird species, and four times as many as mammals!
Orchids are cosmopolitan, which in this case of flowers simply means it can live in a wide variety of environments, with the exception of glaciers. The most diversity of orchids occur in the tropics, though some do grow above the Arctic Circle. Asia leads in orchid species, with upwards of 300 different types.
Orchids are used prominently in perfume scents, and if you have ever enjoyed a vanilla ice cream, you were consuming the vanilla orchid. Some terrestrial orchids, like the purple orchid, are used to make Turkish salep flour and a Turkish ice cream called dondurma.
Orchids are culturally symbolic for many countries, serving as the emblem flower for the Chinese city of Shaoxing, and Venezuela, Colombia, Singapore, Costa Rica, Belize, and Panama all have orchids as their national flower.
Orchids are such a fantastic and diverse flower, and SuEllen’s Floral Company has a lovely variety of the thousands of species in this colorful family. Below is just a highlight of some of the orchids we have available, but you can head on over to https://suellensfloral.com.
One of the largest genus in the orchid family is the dendrobium (pictured left), with about 1800 species under its belt. The dendrobium is grown mainly in Southeast Asia, and is unique because it could connect it’s roots to trees and rocks, and are therefore not limited by soil. This flower is considered one of the fifty fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, and versions of the dendrobium are used as national emblems, including a peculiar dendrobium known unofficially as Kimilsungia, which serves as the floral emblem of North Korea.
The butterfly orchid, the phalaenopsis, is a beautiful purple-and-white color orchid and can bloom for up to two months. They are native to Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. It was first discovered by Dutch botanist Carl Ludwig Blume.
Boat orchids, or cymbidium, is a bulbous terrestrial orchid with anywhere from 3-12 leaves. It is one of the oldest known horticultural orchids, having in grown in the Jin Dynasty of China (200 BC). The Bhutanese people use boat orchids to make a spicy curry known as olatsche.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR ORCHIDS
- Water and feed orchids once a week for one minute. Avoid over-watering, which could lead to root rot. Be sure to drain excess water.
- Position orchids in a bright windowsill but not in direct Sunlight. Ideally keep between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Orchids will rebloom, so don’t throw them out once they lose those pedals.
- Do not eat your orchids.