by Erika Hall

‘Orchids got their name from a Greek meaning {orchis} or testicles because they resembled the testicles of a man. Theophrastos, a Greek Philosopher, was the man who named the orchid in his book “De Historia Plantarum.” Orchids are traced back into Ancient times, some 3000 years ago. The Chinese are said to be the first culture to explore the world of the orchids. Shên-nung was the first person to describe the Chinese Gound orchid in his book of Chinese Herbal Medicine “Materia Medica.”  In the Chinese culture they believed that everything had an opposite, like the Yin and Yang. With the orchid, in medicine, it balanced the opposites. The roots of the plant were used and believed to be healing in medicine. Confucius, an infamous Chinese Philosopher who said “Do not do onto others what you do not want done to yourself,” also said the plant represents nobility, refinement, and friendship. This was portrayed as the ideal man, shown through art:

“An orchid in a deep forest sends out its fragrance even if no one is around to appreciate it. Likewise, men of noble character hold firm to their high principles, undeterred by poverty” (Confucius).

How to care for Orchids (Link)


Not every orchid can survive in the same climate.

Where are Orchids?

Orchids are grown all over world. They live in more tropical, warm and humid areas. Anyone can grow orchids, but they have to make sure the climate is just right so the plants can survive. Here are a few places they are found naturally:

                  Brazil                   Malaysia
                 Ecuador                   Mexico
                 Hawaii                   Peru
                 India                   Philippines
                 Japan                   Thailand

*This is a map of orchid distribution

There are over 25,000 different orchids around the world. Because there are so many different orchids, every orchid is not cared for the same.



21 Century Orchids

Orchids are the biggest family of flowers. Today orchids are widely used for decoration. Whether it is for a garden, home centerpiece or even a wedding, they are used for many things. Orchids are still used for medicinal reasons. Now people are starting to use orchids as food. The blooms are what scientists consider safe to eat from any orchid. It has been reported that some blooms can irritate the stomach, so not all blooms or orchids are recommended to eat. Vanilla is a very famous orchid, used for flavoring and fragrance.








Cattleya (D Ramey Logan-WikimediaCommons)  


Vanda Cultivar










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Berliocchi L. In: Griffiths M, ed. The Orchid in Lore and Legend. Portland OR, Timber Press, 2004. ISBN 0–88192–616–7.

Guthrie D. A History of Medicine. London, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1945.

Igansai (Pseudonym for Jo-an Matsuoka). Igansai-ranpin. 1728.


“Confucius – Biography.” Confucius. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

“Where Orchids Grow Naturally | Orchid Care Zone.” Orchid Care Zone. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.

Sotirov, Krum. “Http://www.ionopsis.com/edible_orchids.htm.” N.p., n.d. Web.












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