Tuesday, January 15, 2019


When we were on Sanibel Island, we stayed at a place that had this glorious orchid tree. We had never seen such a tree. The tree had a variety of orchids growing on it. The owner told me that a variety of orchids grew around the tree. The variety means that they grow at different times. Yes, they are also different colors. Here is a photo of some orchids growing on the tree.

These orchids are vanilla. The vanilla comes from the bean of the plant. As you find when you purchase a bottle of vanilla extract at Penzeys, a whole bean is inside. I use pure vanilla for baking. Due to the fact that vanilla comes from a pod and has seeds, it is a fruit. Who knew vanilla is a fruit? 

Orchids come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. There are over 25,000 types of orchids and some live as long as 200 years. Those who grow orchids have cross-breeded them, thus creating many more orchids.

How long have orchids been on our planet?  Fossils have taught us that they could have been here with the dinosaurs. They grow all over the world except for Antarctica.

I visited my favorite local greenhouse and captured a few of their beautiful orchids. The one below was one of my favorites. Such vibrant colors and fits in the palm of my hand. Each orchid is made up of two equal parts. In other words, if you were to go to the top of the middle of an orchid and look straight down, you will always see that both sides are exactly the same in shape and size.

If you were to take an orchid out of its pot, you will notice that they do not have normal roots. Instead, they have tuber roots, much like the dahlia and other flowers we have learned about. The tubers are edible as are the petals.

When we put our condo on the market in 2012, I bought the beautiful yellow orchid you see to the right. It was truly spectacular! The colors and the thickness of the petals were unique and brought a lot of attention to those who visited.

Did you know that the flower of the orchid can last from less than 4 hours to 6 months! So, when you go to a flower store or greenhouse and you want to purchase an orchid but are hesitant due to the price, keep in mind that you may enjoy it in bloom for 6 months and then, after a dormant period of time, it will bloom again. Keep in mind that some of us have better green thumbs than others.

Although orchids create millions of seeds, only a small number of them will take hold and grow a new orchid. We are unable to see the seeds. Only by using a microscope are they visible. How are they pollinated? Orchids draw male bees close to them. The bees go in, pollinate the flower and then fly off to the next orchid.

Orchids are truly spectacular. They are beautiful and special. They are edible and bring us joy. Best of all, the vanilla orchid brings us vanilla extract. We have been enjoying orchids for a very long time.

Keep your eyes open when you head outside or walk through a greenhouse or a flower store. When you see one, a smile will most likely form.

Coming next week: learn about mallards.

Thank you for visiting!