The first known orchid lived between 26 and 110 million years ago. Ever since, orchids have written a significant and rich history for themselves all over the world. In the mid-1750s, Peter Osbeck, a Swedish Naturalist, thought he saw a cluster of moths outside his window. In fact, he saw Phalaenopsis Orchids, otherwise known as “moth orchids” thanks to his mistake. Orchids have also been impacted by the Greek language as the popular Cymbidium Orchid acquired its name from the Greek word “kymos,” meaning boat. The Dendrobium Orchid’s name was derived from two words of the same language, “dendron” and “bios,” meaning “life in a tree.”
From the ancient Greeks and Aztecs to the Victorian ages, orchids have been a symbol of fertility, strength, beauty, and refinement. Today, the symbolism behind an orchid is another profound layer of meaning when selected as a gift for significant others, parents, friends, and even respected teachers or bosses. Your friends here at Toblers Flowers, Kansas City’s best florist are thrilled to be sharing these stories of cultural significance and orchid symbolism.
Orchid Uses and Symbolism by Culture
Orchid roots held a significant role in predicting gender in ancient Greece. As a symbol for fertility, it was believed that finding a small tuberous orchid root indicated a female child was to be born, and seeing a large tuberous orchid root indicated a male would be born. Today, fertility is still a well-known symbol of orchids, especially pink orchid flowers
Although one of the most powerful empires in Mesoamerica may not have needed the help, the ancient Aztecs believed orchids brought great strength and power. As these flowers became a symbol of such, the Aztecs created an elixir made of chocolate and vanilla orchids to boost the strength and power within themselves.
In 1862, Charles Darwin published his work on the population mechanism of orchids, which some believe started the “Orchidelirium.” Wealthy and royal families in the Victorian Era were infatuated with this magnificent flower and couldn’t get enough to adorn their homes with. As orchids, in general, remain a symbol of refinement, purple orchids, in particular, are linked to royalty, authority, and admiration.
Orchids, especially the dendrobium orchid flower or “Bamboo Orchid,” were often an ingredient in ancient Chinese medicines. To help aid in lung, kidney, and eye diseases, as well as stomach deficiencies and intense coughs, orchids were selected and included in treatments. Today, green orchids are still a symbol for good health and a great selection for those feeling under the weather or recovering from a serious illness.
Japanese culture associates orchids with very similar, if not identical symbols and meanings as we’ve seen throughout history. However, this culture credits different origin stories to these symbols. For example, orchids can grow and thrive in a wide range of habitats, including both the mountains and the plains. Therefore, this beautiful bloom became a symbol in Japan for not only power and strength, but a rich and luxurious life as well. Orchids are often displayed in both the home and office as a symbol of fertility, which translates to good fortune in both personal life and business life.
From Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium to Cymbidium, orchids are the perfect versatile flower for a variety of celebrations. As a symbol of charm, love, fertility, beauty, thoughtfulness, and refinement, these breathtaking blooms are deeply admired by many. Visit Toblers Flowers for the best orchids and magnificent blooms