In the spirit of Halloween, let’s talk about ghosts, spiders, vampires, and witches in the form of eye-catching orchid plants. Yes, believe it or not, there are creepy but pretty orchids with scary-sounding names perfect for this spooky occasion.
Botanically known as the Brassia orchid genus, by the looks of it, it’s obvious how these tarantula-looking flowers got its catchy nickname. Spider orchids extraordinarily long, thin tepals, which is the outer part of the flower, that spread out like legs. This orchid plant can grow up to 50 centimeters tall. If you have Arachnophobia or the extreme fear of spiders, this unique orchid will give you the creeps.
Shadow Witch Orchid (Ponthieva racemosa)
Ponthieva racemosa, which is fondly known as the shadow witch orchid or the hairy shadow witch orchid, can be found in the United States, Mexico, West Indies, and Puerto Rico. Out of 25 unique orchid species, only 3 species of this orchid plant can be found in the country, specifically in Florida, Texas, and Virginia. Despite it being called a witch orchid, it doesn’t fly on a broomstick but it can be seen thriving in forest floors, swamps, and hammocks (or a tree-covered island surrounded by wetlands).
Another orchid plant that is sure to give you goosebumps is the Dracula vampira, which hails from the cloud forests of the mountains of Ecuador. A dark and gothic beauty, this weird orchid does not suck on fresh blood but live on mossy trees where it attaches its roots and absorb moisture. While many think this orchid is christened after the infamous, fictional character, Count Dracula, Kew Science says otherwise. The truth is Dracula translates to “little dragon,” which somehow resembles the peculiar appearance of the orchid flower.
Medusa’s Bulbophyllum (Bulbophyllum medusae)
Named after the legendary Medusa Gorgon from Greek mythology, Bulbophyllum medusae is characteristically known for its flower that has long, thin sepals that remind you of Medusa’s hair of snakes, which turn into stone anyone who looks into their eyes directly. Medusa’s Bulbophyllum orchid can be found in the lowland forests of Thailand, Malaysia, Lesser Sunda Islands, Borneo, and Sumatra.
Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii)
A bizarre beauty, this spooky orchid plant comes with crisp white flowers with petals that are long and spread apart. It does not have leaves and from afar looks like it is floating in the air when it is in fact attached to the bark of a tree. This one-of-a-kind orchid flower is endemic to the Bahamas and Florida. The most intriguing bit of trivia about the ghost orchid is that, except for a few orchid experts and researchers, no one knows their exact location. Apparently, the decision to keep it a secret is in an effort to deter orchid poachers from hunting it down and plucking it out from its natural habitat.