Flowers have their own special language. With the fascinating symbolism and meanings their beauty holds, flowers help express heartfelt feelings that are sometimes almost impossibly difficult to put into words.
An excellent example of this would be our favorite orchids. These exquisite flowers can mean a whole lot of things, depending on the orchid species, the flower color, or the specific country or culture.
Orchid Meanings Based on Flower Color
There are perhaps over 27,800 orchid species recognized today, and they come in almost every color and hue imaginable. Each vibrant color holds a thought-provoking meaning.
- Yellow Orchids – A cheery color, yellow orchids stand for friendship and well wishes.
- Green Orchids – Mostly waxy cymbidium orchids, a refreshing green represents good health, long life, strength, and longevity. Because it’s also the color of money, green orchids are also said to symbolize prosperity.
- Pink Orchids – A dainty pink orchid signify love, femininity, grace, and happiness.
- Purple Orchids – Purple orchid arrangements, specifically purple vanda orchids, radiate that regal beauty that will leave you in awe. They symbolize wealth, royalty, and admiration.
- White Orchids – An immaculate perfection, orchid arrangements in this color symbolize innocence, elegance, purity, and respect.
- Orange Orchids – Orchids in a citrus orange hue look bright and exotic at the same time. They stand for boldness and strength. They’re also one of the most tropical-looking.
- Blue orchids – Blue orchids are extremely rare. Vanda coerulea, fittingly called the Blue Orchid, is the only exception. The rest of the blue orchids you see at commercial flower shops are artificially dyed. Blue orchids are a unique way of saying, “You’re one of a kind.”
Now, let’s take a closer look at how the exquisite orchid is regarded by the people in ancient Greece, China, and other parts of the world.
Orchids According to Greeks
If we dig deeper at the etymology of orchids, we’ll learn that it comes from the word “orkhis,” which literally means testicles in Greek. According to stories, Theophrastus, a Greek botanist, biologist, physicist, and a known protégé of Aristotle, christened the flowers that way because he thought the root tubers of the plant had an uncanny resemblance to the male reproductive organ.
In addition to this, in classical Greek mythology, Orchis, the offspring of a satyr and a nymph, was turned into a flower, believed to be orchids, after his death. In his research, the first century A.D. Greek physician Dioscorides suggested that orchids influenced sexuality.
Orchids Represent Fertility
Orchids are a popular gift for new husband and wife. This is especially true in Chinese culture, where orchids symbolize the unity of a married couple and the promise of bearing many children. They present couples with orchid gifts to drive away evil spirits that may bring barrenness.
The ancient Greeks believed that eating orchids do not only boost their fertility and sexual vigor but tell them the sex of their unborn child. Legend says that if it’s the husband who ate big tubers of the plant, the wife will give birth to a boy. On the contrary, if it’s the wife who consumes a tiny fleshy part of the orchid, she’ll bring forth a baby girl.
Orchids Stand for Beauty and Love
Orchids are the epitome of love and beauty. But aside from a splendor you can’t help but fall for, there are many tales behind this curious notion.
Paphiopedilum, a major orchid genus, was named after “Paphos,” which was the temple of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
During the Victorian era, orchids symbolized a woman’s fairness. Men were expected to present rare orchids as a precious gift to women they fancy. The rule is, the rarer the orchid, the deeper your love is and the purer your intentions are.
Because orchids are, in fact, edible, they were used as the main ingredient in natural aphrodisiacs and love potions. This was reportedly common in parts of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Orchids as Sign of Wealth and Prosperity
In old Japanese culture, orchids were prized possessions and considered a sign of wealth, prosperity, and loyalty. Gorgeous orchid plants were kept hidden inside temples, perhaps as elegant décors or as offering to their deity. They also want pictures of lovely orchids hand-painted onto scrolls.
During the Victorian era, rare orchids were bought by royalty and the elite class as a visual display of luxury and refined taste.
In Chinese feng shui, orchids are considered one of the luckiest houseplants that can usher in peace, harmony, good opportunities, and success in your home or place of business.