20,000 Orchids on the Big Island

20,000 orchid types on Hawaii
Ancient Greece philosophers thought orchids were associated with male fertility, the belief being that if women ate orchid flowers, they would bear a son to continue the family tradition. The Aztecs were known to drink a mixture of vanilla orchid flowers and chocolate to give them strength.

flowered orchid
As the world underwent many changes species of both plant and animal life went extinct or made changes, but the orchid family expanded, populating every corner of the world except Antarctica, living on trees, rocks, in the ground or under it, tropical rain forest or lush grassland, high mountain or bog, they thrived; nothing seems capable of upsetting their evolutionary process, indeed it is generally accepted that in the world today, there are over 35,000 different species of orchid in existence.


Many myths abound concerning them, the most common of which is that they are parasitical plants, this is not so, orchids grow on trees – true, but they do not feed from them, they use the host merely as somewhere to be.
When it comes to reproduction, orchids are versatile, but individually selective and have adapted themselves to use a variety of pollinators, with or without their consent.
Where many insects are concerned, the plant attracts them either by smell or mimicry, or in some instances even a little stealth.

potted orchid
The smell factor is an obvious attraction to a pollinator, but mimicry? The flowers of many orchids almost seem designed to look like either an aggressor of the pollinator or it sexual partner.
In the case of the Bee orchids, male bees are attracted to the plants because the flower looks like a receptive female, and during a frustrating attempt at mating with the flower, the male bee will become the unsuspecting carrier of pollen, which it will then deposit on the next flower it falls in love with. Lol!

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