What Do Orchids Symbolize?


Orchids are some of the most beautiful and wonderful smelling flowers. They are an epitome of beauty and grace in presence. Orchids have been associated with different symbolism since ancient times. Let us try to decipher the hidden meaning behind all the symbolism.

Orchid: The Origin Story

The name orchid has been derived from Greek origins. The greek word“orkhis”. The first orchid was named by a Greek botanists of ancient times by the name of Theoprastos. Theoprastos thought that the fleshy tubers of the plant which were underground to resemble the anatomy of a male.

Globally, the orchids are known to be of various types. There are in total around 20000 known species of orchid. Some stories regarding the names of orchid were rather interesting reads. There is one particular Orchid called the Moth, which was actually believed to be moths by Peter Osbeck who discovered them.

Various Symbolism Behind Orchid

Orchids have carried a variety of symbolism over the years. The ancients of the greeks believed orchids were a symbolism of human virility. The symbolism were so profound in their beliefs that they really thought the larger tuberous roots resembled the male children and the smaller tubers symbolized a female children.

The Aztec civilization in the americas used to mix the vanilla orchids along with chocolate to create a concoction. This was said to improve power and give great strength. The Victorian era Orchids were more of display of elegance and luxury over power and strength.

The Flower Fact : Orchid Facts

The Orchid flowers and plants would vary in their range of sizes and shapes. There are several orchid flowers that grow amidst the under stories of the tropical rain forests and produce really delicate type of blooms in different arrays of color. Although some of the orchid plants are small in size, measuring from a few inches in length. There are more taller variants such as the Vanilla type of orchid, which can grow to towering lengths. The Vanilla type of orchid is a native in the Mesoamerican region where the tribes of Totonaco Indian would cultivate them. According to various ancient legends of the Totonaco Indians, the vanilla type of orchid would spring out from the blood of a certain Princess Xanat. This was when the princess along with her lover got amputated for dishonoring the wishes of her father.

Different Meaning Associated With Orchids

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Mostly owing to the similarity if names, the Orchids are often associated with the human sexuality, fertility and virility. The symbolism put together with their highly elegant and exotic looks made orchids a symbol of love and passion. Various cultures in the history have associated Orchids with the universal emotions of love, passion and elegance across various time lines.

  • One of the most popular orchids is the famous Paphiopedilum. The popular orchid name is derived from a Greek word called the “Paphos”. The term Paphos meant the temple of Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love.
  • In the Ancient Greece, a popular myth was that the parents could be choosing the gender of their unborn child if they eat the tubers of the orchid. If the father of the child ate the more thicker and fleshier tubers, they would give birth to a male child. The same way if it was the mother who ate the much smaller and thinner tubers, they would give birth to a female child.
  • Aztecs would often mix the vanilla type of orchid, along with chocolate to create the ultimate elixir of power and strength.
  • During most part of Victorian age, the orchids was only found around the sub tropics and they used to be extremely rare. This led the Victorians on quests to collect all the exotic orchids. They would represent a sign of elegance, luxury and refined taste. An orchid as a gift, with the rarest of the kind meant that the deep level of passion and love one had for the receiver.
  • In ancient China, the orchids would be regarded as the emblems of friendship, integrity and elegance.

Different Forms Of Orchid Symbolism & Their Colors

Even though Orchids as we spoke earlier represented fertility and virility, the symbolism extended well beyond types to colors of orchids.

  • White type of orchids would symbolize purity and innocence, along with reverence and elegance.
  • Pink color orchids would symbolize joy, grace and femininity.
  • Yellow color of orchids would symbolize new forms of beginnings and friendships. They are ideal choices for gifts for your friend or celebrating some accomplishment.
  • Purple color of orchid would symbolize the admiration of subjects and royalty. They are traditionally presented as the sign of respect.
  • Orange color of orchid would symbolize the boldness, pride and enthusiasm.

Orchid Cultural Significance

Confucious often admired the beauty of Orchids and wrote several poems and quotes in regards to them. One such highly popular saying by Confucious is:

“The orchids grow in the woods and they let out their fragrance even if there is no one around to appreciate it. Likewise, men of noble character will not let poverty deter their will to be guided by high principles and morals.” –Confucius

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Orchid Facts

  • The pink color of orchid is the ultimate traditional flower for couple’s celebrating their 14th or their 25th anniversary of wedding.
  • Orchids mostly rely upon the symbiotic relationship between fungi in order to survive. This makes them very adaptable to a most wide form of ecosystem.
  • Most of the Orchids have their origin in almost every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica.

The slipper type of orchid has the unique form of method for pollination. It lures several pollinator, such as insect, into the slippery pouch. In order to escape the victim need to crawl through a tine little narrow crevice which is in the plant. That forces the insect to rub against all the attached forms of pollen. If the insect is fallen victim to another type of slipper orchid, it promotes cross-pollination through similar process.