Orchids: A Brief History of the Fascinating and Beautiful Plant

Updated on February 19, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna writes about the care of plants (indoors, outdoors, and in gardens). She wrote an orchid care booklet—a companion piece for workshops.

Advance Nutrients
Advance Nutrients

200 Million Years Ago

The world of orchid (its beauty, dramatic shapes, and colors) have fascinated plant enthusiasts for centuries. These magnificent flowers first appeared nearly 200 million years ago and have since spread from the equator to the Arctic Circle and from the Himalayas to Australia. Orchid fossils have been dated to the Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era (195–136 million years ago) and the Cenozoic period (64 million years ago).

Crazy - Frankenstein.com
Crazy - Frankenstein.com

Confucius Kept Orchids

The orchid forms one of the largest families in the plant kingdom with over 25,000 species worldwide. With modern scientific cultivation, there are now over 100,000 varieties of orchid and the number is increasing. The first recorded mention of orchids is found in Inquiry into Plants dated around 300 B.C. by Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle. Dioscorides, a Greek medical botanist, and physician, first identified them clearly as “orchids” in the 1st century whose De Materia Medica was a standard reference until the Middle Ages.

In Asia, the great philosopher and statesman Confucius kept orchids in his rooms and wrote a poem praising their fragrance.

Aphrodisiac

Orchidaceae, it is called in English, was known to the Greeks as Orchis 2000 years ago. This is said to refer to Orchis Morio, which can still be seen in that region. The name means “testicle” for rather obvious reasons when you look at the root. During the Roman period (A.D. 476) the orchid roots were eaten or steep as an aphrodisiac.

In the 19th Century and the coming of the industrial age, it became easier to transplant orchids from the tropics to civilization. Advances in glass manufacturing facilitated the construction of greenhouses. Thus fueled the enthusiasm of propagating orchids under controlled conditions where the wealthy, cultured society competed to collect rare and beautiful specimens.

HGTV Home
HGTV Home

What do you think

Do you cultivate orchids in your home?

See results
Time with Thea
Time with Thea

Attend a Workshop

Today, orchids have become one of the most popular hobbies internationally. People of all walks of life can afford to enjoy the brilliance colors, exotic shapes and aromas while taking in their exquisite grace, unique forms and varieties for each season.

Most nurseries not only do we carry a vast number of varieties to satisfy the desires of their customers, but also we educate their customers as well through free workshops.

Orchid growers need an ideal agricultural area to grower their orchids. Warm tropical climate provides the premier conditions that grow the best and most beautiful orchids. Orchids have become one of the most popular hobbies internationally. People of all lifestyles can afford to enjoy the brilliance colors, exotic shapes and aromas while taking in their exquisite grace, unique forms, and varieties for each season. Some growers might grow rare orchid species.

People of all lifestyles can afford to enjoy the brilliance colors, exotic shapes and aromas while taking in their exquisite grace, unique forms, and varieties for each season. Some growers even grow rare orchid species.

Orchid growers overall goal might even be to label orchids accurately because there is an enormous amount of different species of orchids. The growers make sure that the orchids they sell are disease-free. Most orchid growers might understand the need to have a rigid standard of quality control to ensure the most beautiful and long lasting blooms. As always, growers may ensure that the orchids are healthy and vigorous.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Orchids are Endangered

At the start of the 18th-century orchid, collecting became established in many parts of the world because of their attractive, unusual flowers and intoxicating fragrances. Orchids were cultivated as curiosities for a handful of botanists and wealthy amateurs. This all changed, when in 1818, a man by the name of William Cattleya bloomed the first Cattleya. The strange thing about this whole event was he had been unpacking plants he had shipped home (not orchids), he noticed these strange plants that had been used as packing material. He potted some of them up and in November, one of the Cattleyas bloomed. The orchid world has never been the same; it is still feeling the impact of that single plant.

Entire forests were stripped of millions of orchids. An English botanist wrote in 1878 "Not satisfied with taking 300 or 500 specimens of a fine orchid, they must scour the whole country and leave nothing for miles. This is no longer collecting; this is wanton robbery."

Today, many orchids are on the endangered lists, and almost all collecting of orchids are now banned. Species are now being cultivated from seed in orchid hot houses.

Home Design
Home Design

Orchids Keep Blooming

Attending a workshop will dispel the myth that orchids are hard to grow. Most orchids are easy to grow. Once you take your orchid home, get to know your orchid and appreciate its unique quality, you are hooked and want more.

Another added benefit and something to think about as a gift is the orchid lasts quite a while compared to cut flowers and other blooming plants. Whoever owns an orchid will find such joy and excitement; especially when the orchid blooms again after the first bloom is gone. That is the greatest gift of nature anyone can receive.

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Kenna McHugh

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenna McHugh 

        2 months ago from Northern California

        Thank you for visiting our articles on Orchids. Let me know how your new orchid does and if you have any questions about growing your orchid do ask. I'd love to help because orchids are so beautiful.

      • profile image

        Anonymous 

        2 months ago

        I have read a few of your articles on indoor plant care. They inspire me to grow more plants in my house. I have never thought of growing an orchid. After reading the history of orchids, and a few other how to grow orchid plants from other authors, I have decided to try growing my own orchid. I am going to start with Phalaenopsis Orchid. Thank you again.

      • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenna McHugh 

        9 months ago from Northern California

        I love orchids, too. They are amazing plants, so beautiful and their blooms last so long.

      • Stacie L profile image

        Stacie L 

        9 months ago

        I love orchids and can verify that they are not as delicate as they seem. Some friends have owned the same plants for twenty years.

        I learned some interesting facts on their history after reading your hub.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)