Orchid History And You
Orchids are striking not only because of its beautiful flowers but also because of their rich and colorful history. Orchid history tells that even in the prehistoric era, orchids already existed. Just imagine, this exquisite plant just waiting to be taken cared of can tell you about the dinosaurs if they can just talk.Orchids actually witness how the world unfolds, from the time of the dinosaurs up to the present time. You would be surprised that orchids’ documented history is young, taking into consideration that they are as old as time. Greece was one of the first countries to document this beautiful plant.
Orchis was what the Greeks called orchid, in suggestion to their local word for testicles. It is not only in Greece, though, that orchids were used with sexual innuendo. Orchids are symbols of being able to bear many children in China while in Japan, there is a folklore about an emperor’s sterile wife who sniffed orchid aroma and went on to have a dozen children. The great pages of orchid history would not just tell us about its sexual reference. Among other things, orchids are also known to have medicinal properties.
Orchids would allay nausea and rouse appetite among chemotherapy patients. As perfume and as flavoring, are also some of the more widely acknowledged uses of orchids.
William Cattley made orchid history even more fascinating. Cattley was an Englishman whom the orchid Cattleya Libiata was named after. People from London were not familiar with orchids at first. It was only after imported plants from other countries like China and the West Indies became a popular trade that they were able to familiarize themselves with the plant. Orchids, even after years and years of surviving in the wild had a hard time adapting to the new location and they were almost exclusively grown in the Royal Botanical Garden of London. William Cattley, however, was taken by orchids’ beauty and raised an orchid garden of his own. His success was not easy, but in the end because of his persistence, one of his orchids bloomed. Because of this difficulty in growing orchids, there was a time when they were known as “rich man’s plant”.
Orchid history still unfolds before our very eyes. There may be thousand and thousands of orchid shapes, colors and sizes, but the perfect black orchid continues to evade even the smartest of scientists. And just very recently, in 2009, an exciting discovery has been made- The smallest orchid, only 2.1mm wide was found growing on another plant’s roots in Ecuador.
The fact remains, that orchids do not only charm us with their beauty but also of their unfolding orchid history.