Meaning of the orchid

Meaning of the orchid

The origin and characteristics of the orchid or Phalaenopsis

The orchids we know belong to the Phalaenopsis Blume genus, 1825: there are about fifty species native to Asia and the archipelagos of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The name Phalaenopsis comes from the Greek and means similar to butterflies. Orchids are epiphytic plants that are plants that grow on the bark of trees. They have large, fleshy leaves and multicolored flowers, even larger than 10 cm in diameter. The flowers are often long lasting both on the plant and when cut. The roots are visible and very delicate; from green they become whitish due to the formation of the protective layer called velamen that covers them. The roots perform a photosynthetic function. Orchids develop on a single stem (monopodial) and have a simple rhizome from which large and opposite and symmetrical leaves are born, oval in shape, usually dark green. The flowers are of different colors from species to species and are usually large and very beautiful: they develop on the stems that arise from the stem and grow oriented towards the light. The stems are about 15 cm long and each have up to ten flowers.

The aphrodisiac power of the orchid in history and mythology

The orchid has been talked about since ancient times in the East, where in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. it was appreciated by the Chinese and Japanese for its perfume and beauty. Also known in ancient Greece, orchids were celebrated by Theophrastus for their aphrodisiac powers or included in fertility recipes. In Greek mythology it is said of Orchis who after trying to rape a priestess was torn apart by beasts as punishment. To save it, the gods of Olympus transformed it into a flower whose shape resembled the anatomical appendages of man; the name órchis, in fact, means testicle and explains why the plant is attributed the symbol of fertility and sensuality. The orchid was used in the elixirs of love and youth in the Middle Ages, while in the 14th-16th centuries the Vanilla species, considered a symbol of strength, was drunk in chocolate. In Victorian England, the orchid was a symbol of class and prestige because it was rare, exotic and difficult to grow: the nobles collected the rarest orchids in their gardens, which became a symbol of nobility.

  • Orchid tree - Bauhinia corniculata

    This genus includes about 200 small shrubs or saplings from China, India and southern Africa. Some species, such as B. grandiflora, can be grown outdoors in the regions.
  • Cattleya Orchids - Cattleya spicata

    The cattleya orchid genus has about fifty species of epiphytes and lithophytes, native to South America; they are equipped with fleshy pseudobulbs, which can have dimensions close to 5-7 cm, ...
  • Laelia

    The genus Laelia includes about 50-60 species of orchids, mainly epiphytes, native to Central America, very similar to the cattleya. These varieties form dense clumps of flat pseudobulbs ...
  • Bletilla striata

    Generally when we think of an orchid, our imagination evokes memories of delicate plants, with very particular requirements, often with aerial roots, which should only be grown by true ap ...

The orchid in the arts

A flower symbol of love and sensuality, of strength and nobility like the orchid could only be remembered by artists of all ages. In Olympia (1863), Édouard Manet depicts a prostitute with an orchid in her hair, thus expressing the sensuality of the represented subject; Georgia O'Keeffe, American painter, expressed great emotions by depicting orchids, just as photographer Robert Mapplethorpe immortalized their delicate form in black and white. In literature there are traces of the orchid in Shakespeare's Hamlet: on Hamlet's death, Gertrude reveals his death by wearing wreaths with purple flowers that the shepherds call with a vulgar name and the handmaids define the dead man's fingers. In Proust's Recherche the orchid often appears as a symbol of eroticism, an allusion to the relationship between Swann and Odette or as a homosexual metaphor. The orchid as sensual beauty is also described by D'annunzio, while Marinetti in the futurist manifesto describes a white and red orchid held between the lips of a dancer like a rifle ready to machine-gun.

Meaning of the orchid: The meaning of the orchid

In the East the orchid represents perfection and purity and for this reason it is often given to children; in the West, on the other hand, it has a meaning linked to love because it can grow anywhere. Giving a Cattleya orchid for Mother's Day means celebrating the charm of advancing age as Proust did in the Recherche. Dark brown orchids signify authority and power and are suitable for a superior or a person who has been successful in the work. Orchids with red spots are used at Easter and Christmas because they are reminiscent of the blood of Christ, while orchids of any color are used for weddings and important events as a greeting or to congratulate. The pink orchid is a symbol of affection and love: it is given to the fourteenth year of marriage, while the yellow or cream colored one is given to the twenty-eighth anniversary. Purple orchids testify to a moment of strong emotional impact, like a deep relationship, an indissoluble bond.

Video: How to know whats wrong with a Phalaenopsis Orchid from its leaves