Namaste!Orchids ... it is impossible not to admire them, not to be delighted with their beauty and elegance. These flowers are like mysterious creatures of the distant tropics, as exotic as their homeland. According to the legend of New Zealand’s aborigines, orchids are the fragments of the crashed rainbow, and perhaps that is why they are so different and varied in colors: there are more than 20,000 currently accepted species, plus about 100 000 artificial hybrids. And even on the same plant there are no two exactly the same flowers.
Orchids are exotic not only in sight but in a way of life also: the majority of tropical species grow on trees, using them as props and climbing up the trunks above the ground, while others settled on a cliff, getting into the cracks between the stones, which accumulate moisture and decaying plant residues, and some Australian orchids even lead an underground life, they never grow above the ground, even their flowers are pollinated by the underground insects. There are a lot of mysterious legends and superstitions about orchids, such as the existence somewhere in the depths of the tropics of carnivorous flowers, that eat not only animals but also attack people if they accidentally wander in the territory.
Orchids have had much use during history: as a cure for many diseases, and as spices in cooking, and as a fortifying drink, and in cosmetics and perfumery, and in exorcism, and even as love potion.
The first tropical orchids - vanilla - were brought to Europe in 1510 by Spanish conquistadors. Spice obtained from the vanilla was the most expensive spice after saffron. In 1789 in the London Royal Botanic Gardens 15 tropical orchid species were in cultivation, a collection of Parisian botanical garden in 1840 had 7 plants. Within the next 50 years orchid mania had swept Europe: thousands of orchids from the tropical regions of South and Central America, India, South-East Asia were exported.
At the present time, orchids are grown not only in botanical gardens and greenhouses, but many species can even be grown on a windowsill at home.
Orchids have the ability to grow anywhere and have the resistance power to bloom under any condition, maybe that’s why in many countries its flower is a symbol of love.