Luxurious, bold and sensual: we turn this month’s spotlight onto the orchid.
Even those with a self-proclaimed disinterest in flowers would recognise an orchid: with their incredible symmetry and distinctive flowers poised on long, delicate stems, the orchid is an exotic looking plant with a cultural heritage to match.
Orchids belong to the family Orchidaceae; one of the oldest families of flowering plants in the world. There are around 28,000 species globally, with a wide range of flower shapes. Each ‘spike’ can bear different numbers of flowers; some have one, whereas others have over twenty.
What orchid shapes are there?
We couldn’t begin to list them all here! However, we’ll cover a few of the best known:
Phalaenopsis orchids have petals arranged a little like a butterfly or moth, and are relatively easy to look after at home, making them a popular houseplant or gift.
Brassavola orchids smell beautiful and have a distinctive heart-shaped bloom with narrow petals.
Cattleya orchids are best identified by their fancy streaks, spots and ruffled petals.
Cymbidium orchids have small but perfectly formed blooms, making them the perfect fit for our cards.
Orchids in culture
The sensual look of the orchid has made it a statement flower for many works of fiction, music and art, to name a few… * Black orchids were made famous in the Black Orchid mini series of 1991, as well as a perfume by Tom Ford. * Blue Orchid is the name of a song by the White Stripes, from their Get Behind Me Satan album of 2005. * White Orchid puts its name to a 2018 thriller about the murder of its beautiful namesake.
Orchid world flowers
Varieties of orchid have even gained status as national flowers: with Columbia, Singapore, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Panama all showing their love for the orchid.
What do orchids symbolise?
Take a deep breath! Orchids have the most sensual of all flower meanings, and are associated with fertility, virility and sexuality. For this, you have the ancient Greek botanist Theophrastos to credit, who thought that the underground tubers resembled the male anatomy.
Are orchids poisonous to dogs and cats?
The short answer is probably not; the ‘pure’ varieties, such as the phalaenopsis, are considered non-toxic, while cymbidium orchids are reported to have no toxic effects by Gardener’s World. As always, we recommend that you keep your Flowercard away from anything that might damage it - so that it can be enjoyed the way the sender intended!
When does the cymbidium orchid bloom?
The cymbidium orchid flowers in April, making it our flower of the month - however, its flowering period actually spans 6 months of the year, including January, March and October through to December.
What is the orchid wedding anniversary?
Traditionally the flower to celebrate 28 years together, the orchid is fitting for any anniversary, and is particularly fitting where there have been ‘many children’ in the relationship, thanks to its association with fertility and virility.