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Orchid Meaning and History

The Orchid is one of the oldest flowering plants known to man. There are an astounding 28,000 different species of Orchids, with the United States having 250 alone. The flower is popular both in the garden and in the home thanks to its vast variety and ability to bloom for months at a time.

Orchid Meaning

Orchid History

The Orchid dates back to at least 500 BC, discovered in China, Greece, and Rome. Eighteenth century explorers found these exotic flowers and transported them back to their home countries to enjoy at home. This populated the world with these beautiful flowers, which now grow on every continent except Antarctica. 

In medieval times the swollen roots of the European Orchids were used as an aphrodisiac. This is a popular theme with many examples of the Orchid flower meaning throughout the world. 

Orchid Meaning and Greek Symbology

In the 4th century BC, Greek botanist, Theophrastos, discovered and named the flower “Orkhis”, which means “testes”. The name was earned because the plant’s tubers resemble male genitalia. As such, the Orchid was a symbol of virility and was ingested both as an aphrodisiac and to determine the gender of unborn babies. It was believed eating the large roots would ensure a boy, while eating the small roots granted a baby girl. 

To explain the Orchid’s widespread presence throughout the world, the Greeks created the myth of Orchis. Orchis was the son of a nymph and satyr who took advantage of a female follower of the god Dionysys. Angered by this heinous act, Dionysus had Orchis torn apart by wild beasts. Today’s orchids are said to have sprung up wherever Orchis’ blood splattered upon the Earth. 

Modern Uses of Orchids

Today Orchids are popular flowers for both the outdoor garden and as indoor potted flowers because of their exotic beauty. In addition to growing Orchids to enjoy their appearance, the flower has properties that are used to enhance our beauty.

The Orchid has extensive moisturizing properties similar to hyaluronic acid. Due to this benefit, Orchids are used in skin care as an antioxidant and humectant. The extract is known to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Orchid Flower Meanings

The primary Orchid flower meanings include thoughtfulness, refinement, fertility, beauty, and love. In addition to these universal symbols, several countries have their own cultural and historical meanings attached to this exotic flower. 

Greece: Fertility is at the heart of the Orchid’s symbol in Greek culture. Today Orchids are a popular choice to celebrate new borns and expectant mothers.

Aztec: The Aztecs associated the Orchid with strength and power. They so believed in the flower’s magical properties they created a beverage by combining the essence of the Orchid with chocolate. This drink was believed to promote strength. 

Victorian Era Europe: The beauty of the Orchid captivated both nobility and royalty. As such, the meaning of Orchids is associated with luxury, status, and refined taste.

China: The Chinese prized the Orchid for its medicinal qualities and used the flower often for treatments. So it’s no wonder the Orchid symbolizes good health in this country.

Japan: The Orchid celebrates strength, power, and a luxurious life. 

Meaning of Orchids Based on Flower Color

Orchid Meaning

In the language of flowers the color of the flower has specific meanings. When you want to convey a certain sentiment the corresponding color can help achieve this goal.

Blue Orchids: The blue Orchid symbolizes rarity and unique beauty. A secondary meaning can be spirituality. This is an excellent flower to give someone you are attracted to or feel a connection with.

Red Orchids: Strength, courage, passion, and love are conveyed with the red Orchid. Give these flowers to someone you are romantically involved with or have a close friendship with.

Pink Orchids: The pink Orchid represents grace, gentleness, innocence, happiness, and fertility. These flowers are common to give to expectant mothers, at baby showers, baptisms, and to decorate weddings. 

White Orchids: As is common, white symbolizes purity and innocence. Faith, humility, and elegance are also associated with the white Orchid. Weddings, religious ceremonies, and high-end events are perfect events for the white Orchid. 

Purple Orchids: Purple is often associated with royalty, along with dignity and authority. Send these flowers to show your admiration and respect for the recipient. 

Yellow Orchids: Send yellow Orchids to symbolize friendship, new beginnings, and joy. Celebrate a new job or cheer up a friend living far away with these sunny flowers.

Orange Orchids: Celebrate creativity, success, and excitement with orange Orchids. These make the perfect flower to acknowledge a work promotion or new adventure. 

Green Orchids: The color green is often associated with luck and good health, as well as longevity. Wish someone good luck in life or career with a bouquet of these. 

Few flowers hold the same level of status and admiration as the Orchid. Collected and extensively bred to create new species, it’s no wonder the Orchid meaning is associated with fertility, success, and luxury. 

Orchid Meaning FAQ

Are Orchids Considered Toxic to Pets?

No, the Orchid is not considered toxic to pets.

How Tall Can an Orchid Grow?

The world’s largest Orchid reached 20 meters long. 

When Did Orchids Start Being Engineered to Create New Species?

The first engineered hybrid was created in 1856. 

How Many Orchid Hybrids Have Been Created?

It is estimated that over 100,000 hybrid Orchids have been created by breeders.

How Many Species of Orchids are in the United States?

There are roughly 250 species of Orchids in the United States.