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Orchid Flowers: What Do They Mean & Symbolize?

Orchid Flowers: What Do They Mean & Symbolize?

Just think of a flower that looks mesmerizing and unique in every way? Immediately the thought of beautiful orchids engulfs your minds. The mesmerizing colors and the outstanding beauty of orchids leave anyone feels spellbound and awestricken by their majestic and heavenly appearance. With more than 25 thousand varieties of orchids available on the planet in different colors, each one of them symbolizes a thoughtful meaning. As flowers have a language of their own and orchids make one of the most popular flowers in the gifting industry, it is essential to understand their meanings and symbolism.

Let’s delve into the universe of orchids and know their symbolism and meaning.

Origin of Orchids

As per the fossil evidence found, orchids have existed on the planet for more than 100 million years. The name of this flower was derived from the Greek word “orkhis” which means male anatomy. Orchids are indigenous to the tropic regions such as the Philippines and Himalayas. The first-ever written evidence of the presence of orchids was in the form of Chinese and Japanese drawing and literature in 700 B.C. The cultivation of orchids in England began around 250-300 years ago because the army personnel, Church missionaries, and explorers sent these flowers to their friends and relatives.

Orchid Flower Symbolism

Just like other flowers, orchids to have a language of their own. They symbolize a variety of meanings and express a myriad of human emotions when given to someone. The characteristics of royalty and exoticness make this flower a meaningful one.

Love: Orchids are popular expressions of love and affection after roses. It is a beautiful symbol of love and can be given to one’s partner without a thought to express emotions of love and romance. As they are exotic flowers, they were used to express affection and romance in the Victorian period. In some parts of Europe, these flowers were used as a prime ingredient in making love potions.

Fertility: Orchids represent fertility and virility. According to the ancient Greeks, the large tuberous roots of orchids signified a male child, while the small tubers represented a female child. From there, orchids became a popular gift for baby shower ceremonies or for new brides.

Perfection & Beauty: The perfectly straight lines on the beautiful petals of the orchid flowers depict perfection and beauty. These blossoms were associated with beautiful women in Victorian times. Even the Chinese people in ancient times considered orchids as an epitome of human perfection.

Luxury: The unique shape and bright colors of the orchid flowers makes them luxurious gifts for several occasions. As these flowers were popular among the royal people of Victorian England, they were related to opulence, wealth, and royalty. Orchid being a rare flower grown in the Tropics, it can only be afforded by rich people.

Refinement: Orchids are a symbol of refinement and sophistication. As they were popular among royal families, they got this symbolic meaning.

Thoughtfulness: As orchids are lauded as special flowers in gifting, they express the thoughtfulness of the sender to the recipient. Expressing a variety of emotions through them, orchids can be given to special people in your life.

Significance of Orchids

Orchids hold a special place in various cultures and ceremonies across the globe. The flower has been a part of many cultural ceremonies in many countries and religions worldwide.

Let’s know here what place does orchid hold in different traditions and countries…

Orchid Meaning in Japan

The orchid (Neofinetia Falcata) is associated with nobility and wealth in Japan. The mesmerizing foliage and fragrance of this flower make it a treasured one by the royal families of Japan. It has a rich history in the Samurai culture in Japan as warriors have to travel far off place in search of orchids and whosoever presents them in the royal court was a symbol of bravery and courage.

Orchid Meaning in China

Orchids hold great importance in the Chinese culture die to various reasons. Firstly, these flowers were used to make medicines for cough and cold. Secondly, according to the famous Chinese philosopher, Confucius, orchids were just like virtuous people who were considered a perfect manifestation of culture. Thirdly, orchids symbolize thoughtfulness, elegance, fertility, and innocence in China. Lastly, Chinese people believe that orchids bring good fortune and success.

Orchid Meaning in Greece

In Greek mythology, orchids are associated with fertility and virility. Consuming the bulbs of the orchid plant by Greek men blesses them with a male child and when women eat them, they are blessed with a female child.

Orchid Meaning in Christianity

According to the beliefs of the Christian people, the spots on the petals of some orchid varieties represent the blood of Jesus Christ.  That is why these flowers are popular to decorate the Church altar during Easter and Christmas.

Orchid Meaning in Victorian Era

During Victorian times, orchid symbolized luxury and wealth. The royal Victorian people have an inclination towards these flowers as they were rare and exotic in nature. Even today, orchids represent rare and delicate beauty.

Etymological Meaning of Orchids

Derived from the Greek word “orchis” meaning testicles, the orchid flower is a symbol of fertility in ancient Greece. These flowers are a part of the Orchidaceae plant family. The variety of “phalaenopsis orchis” or the moth orchis received its name from mistaken identity. Peter Osbeck, a Swedish scientist, made a mistake while he spied orchids in his field glasses and considered orchids as clusters of moths. But, the common name moth orchid remained in existence.

Orchid Colors & Meaning

In general, orchids symbolize fertility, love, elegance, and royalty, but it’s every color of orchid represents a different meaning altogether. The colors of flowers have their own language and communicate a variety of emotions through them.

Pink Orchid

Popularly as a 14th and 28th anniversary flower, pink orchid stands for joy and gracefulness. Its pink color symbolizes womanhood and conveys deep emotions when given on the wedding anniversary to someone. A pink orchid can also be given to a sick person as a “get well soon” gift as the flower signifies healing, friendship, and affection. The flower can also serve as a wonderful Mother’s day gift as it represents motherhood as well.

White Orchid

White orchids are popular wedding flowers as they symbolize innocence, beauty, and purity of the heart and soul. According to a popular phrase “the wisdom of the white orchid”, the flower represents harmony and wisdom through its beauty. As white-colored orchids signify the birth of a child, they can also be given to soon-to-be mothers on baby shower ceremonies.  Moreover, the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, this flower represents righteous people who are a perfect blend of humility and sophistication.

Purple Orchid

As purple color represents royalty, the purple orchids are also known as the ‘true queen’ amongst flowers. These orchids are naturally capable of communicating respect and admiration who we respect and look up to in life. They can be a perfect gift for your boss, parents, grandparents and others who you respect from the core of your heart.

Yellow Orchid

Just like yellow roses, yellow orchids symbolize friendship and fresh beginnings in life. The bright color of these flowers makes them perfect representations of happiness and vibrancy. A bouquet of these vivacious flowers is perfect for Friendship Day, housewarming parties, weddings, or conveying best of luck to someone who is beginning a new chapter in life.

Red Orchid

Are you bored of giving the same red roses to your partner on every occasion? Well, then you can bring excitement in your love life with red orchids which represents almost the same emotions which red roses convey. A perfect symbolization of love, romance, and passion, a red orchid can be given to someone special in your life who you love passionately on anniversary, birthday, or Valentine’s Day. Moreover, these pretty flowers also known to signify courage and power and can be presented to someone facing a hard time or as a token of encouragement to someone looking forward to achieve a crucial thing in life.

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Blue Orchid

Symbolizing power, spirituality, inspiration, and strength, blue orchids are rare flowers that are hard to find. Owing to this characteristic of these flowers, they represent uniqueness and serve as a perfect gift for someone special whom you love and adore in life. As the color blue represents calmness and tranquillity, you can give these flowers to someone who is an artist by profession.

Lavender Orchid

A lavender orchid epitomizes solitude, admiration, grace, and feminine beauty. This flower can be given to any woman who is beautiful and a source of gracefulness for everyone. Lavender orchids can also be given as a gift for Mother’s Day.

Orange Orchid

The color orange represents boldness and encouragement in general. So, the orange orchids too symbolize the same traits as its color. It is a wonderful gift for those who are soon going to face a big challenge in life as it motivates them and keeps them calm and poised to courageously and confidently confront the opportunity.

Green Orchid

The color green has the potential of cheering up the moods of the people as it is associated with the freshness of nature. Just like this color, the green colored orchids represent good health, good fortune, and life. Send these flowers to a loved one who is sick or entering into a new phase in life as a token of your best wishes. It can also be given on housewarming occasions as it epitomizes good luck into the home.

Black Orchid

Though the color black is often associated with death and evil, but the black orchids are all linked to positivity and achievement. In positive contexts, the black color marks confidence and royalty. The black orchid signifies great power and complete authority. It is also associated with royalty as it was a popular flower in the royal societies and indicated high fashion sense.

Orchid Flowers as National Flowers of Countries

The incredible variety of meanings and symbolism orchid flowers hold in the language of flowers have made this flower acquire the position of being the national flower of several countries across the globe.

Country Name       National Orchid FlowerSignificance & Symbolism
ColumbiaMay Flower OrchidAlso known as Cattleya Trianae, May Flower Orchid is the national flower of Columbia for more than 80 years. It symbolizes resilience and endurance.
BrazilCorsage OrchidPopularly referred as the “Queen of Orchids”, Corsage Orchid reflects the spirit of Brazil.
IndonesiaMoon OrchidOne of the three national flowers of Indonesia, Moon Orchid is known for its simplicity. It is a symbol of peace.
Costa RicaGuaria Morada OrchidGuaria Morada Orchid was declared the national flower of Costa Rica on June 15, 1939. It represents elegance and fragility of nature.
PanamaHoly Ghost OrchidAlso called “Flower of the Holy Spirit”, this orchid resembles a white dove and is an endangered species of orchid flowers.
BelizeBlack OrchidBlack orchid is among the hundreds of species of orchids found in Belize.
SeychellesTropicbird OrchidAs this flower has a tail resembling a tropicbirds, so it came to be known as Tropicbird orchid. The symbol of this flower is on 50 Rupees currency of Seychelles.
VenezuelaMay Flower OrchidMay Flower Orchid become the national flower of Venezuela on 23 May 1951.  It symbolizes strength and fortitude.
SingaporeSingapore OrchidThis flower was chosen as a national flower of Singapore in April 1981 as it represented the resilience and toughness of the Singapore spirit.
Cayman IslandsWild Banana OrchidAs Wild Banana Orchid is one of the finest varieties of orchids found on Cayman Islands, it came on to become its national flower.
HondurasBrassavola Digbyana OrchidThis variety of orchid replaced rose in terms of becoming the national flower of Honduras in 1969. Also known as the “Orchid of the Virgin”, it represents the national spirit, pride and identity of Honduras.

Orchid as Wedding Anniversary Flower

As orchids symbolize love, affection, care, peace, togetherness, grace, and other emotions smoothly, they are well-known as anniversary flowers.  

Pink orchids: 14th anniversary flower

A pink orchid conveys love, affection, charm, wisdom, beauty, and thoughtfulness. These flowers make the 14th wedding anniversary modern gift and epitomizes the strong bond o the couples. They are a customary choice to celebrate 14th anniversary of a couple for more than a decade now.

Lavender orchids: 28th anniversary flower

28 years of marriage is symbolized by orchids, which is the modern gift suggestion. With different meanings including perfection, friendship, and ‘many children’, they are a perfect anniversary token.

Orchids: Astrological Aquarius Flower (January 21 – February 19)

The pristine beauty, artful appearance, and the natural charm of orchids make these flowers the perfect representation of the intuitiveness and spirituality in Aquarians. The power and love symbolized by this flower perfectly resonate with the loyalty of people born with Aquarius zodiac sign. The people born with this zodiac flower sign have the following personality traits:

  •          Inventive and Inquisitive
  •          Ironical in nature
  •          Organized individual
  •          A humanitarian

Birth Orchids & Their Meanings

MonthOrchidMeaningImages
JanuaryDendrobium A beautiful lifedendrobium
FebruaryLycasteA pure heartLycaste
MarchZygopetalumA long-lasting love  Zygopetalum
AprilOdontoglossumYou are specialOdontoglossum
MayMasdevalliaTemptationMasdevallia
JuneVandaInnocenceVanda
JulyPaphiopedilum/ Lady SlipperAffectionPaphiopedilum
AugustPhalaenopsis/ Moth orchidRomance Phalaenopsis
SeptemberOncidium/ ‎Dancing-LadyFairnessOncidium
OctoberCattleya/ Japhette OrchidGraceCattleya
NovemberEpidendrum/ Rainbow OrchidBlissfulness Epidendrum
DecemberCymbidium/ Boat OrchidPure honestyCymbidium

Fascinating Facts about Orchids

  • Orchids play the role of the protectors of forests in some parts of the Philippines.
  • It is believed that jewel orchids are made up of fairy cloaks in Indonesia.
  • Vanilla essence is extracted from a variety of orchid flowers.
  • The Aztecs apparently drank a concoction of vanilla orchid and chocolate as they believe that this liquid will give them strength.
  • Orchid is the birth flower for people born with an Aquarius sun sign and signifies loyalty.
  • The scent of orchid flowers is used in making perfumes and beauty products.
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