Orchids possess a rare brand of beauty, the type that exudes class and elegance without an effort, the type that stands out from a big bunch of other flowers, the type that you won’t get tired of looking at no matter how long. No wonder they're the star of most flower arrangements.
But did you know, there are orchid species that are actually considered rare in the sense that they’ve gone extinct or hardly ever seen these days even in their natural habitats.
Unfortunately, these rare orchid species’ dwindled in numbers due to man-made causes that could have well been prevented had we known any better. These include excessive harvesting and collection of flower aficionados and for horticultural purposes, and other contributing environmental factors, such as pesticide pollution, the death of the pollinators, and urbanization.
Check out some of the rarest and most exquisite orchids in the world:
Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid
Astonishing fact of the day: There are about four times as many #orchid species as there are species of mammals. Wow! Some 25,000 species, in fact, in nearly 800 genera. And it’s a safe bet that you haven’t seen even a fraction of them—Yet! You can start making up that deficit at The Huntington’s International Orchid Show & Sale on Oct. 21-23, 2016. Hundreds of beautifully diverse blooms will be on exhibit, spanning the Orchidaceae family from Aerangis to Zygopetalum. (Pictured: Paphiopedilum Neeri-Gold, from The Huntington’s orchid collections.) This year’s show is presented in conjunction with the @AmericanOrchidSociety’s Fall Members' Meeting, which will be held at The Huntington. Details at www.huntington.org/orchidshow #orchids #americanorchidsociety #AOS #flowersofinstagram
One of the rarest and perhaps prettiest flowers in the UK and in the whole world, the lady’s slipper orchids (Cypripedium calceolus) got its name from their charming pouch flowers, which resembles a slipper or a shoe. Apparently in the lead as one of the slowest growing plants too, you have to wait around six to 11 years for the lady’s slipper orchids to mature and produce a flower.
Lady slipper orchids are Classified as Critically Endangered in the Red List of Great Britain, Listed under Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive, and Appendix II of CITES.
Hochstetter’s Butterfly Orchid
Credits: Prof. R. Bateman, PeerJ
Dubbed as Europe’s rarest orchid of all time, the Hochstetter’s butterfly orchid (Platanthera azorica) was first discovered in 1838 but was so rare that it was never seen or heard of until scientists found it on one volcanic ridge in the Azores in 2013.
Ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii), or the American ghost orchid, also go by the names palm polly and white frog orchid. It is native in Cuba, the Bahamas, and in Florida.
These endangered orchid species got their name because of their stark white color, courtesy of the absence of chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants) in their florets and their lack of leaves, which interestingly make them seem like they’re floating in the dark.
Discovered in Britain in 1954, ghost orchids were not extinct at all originally. However, due to over-collection and similar reasons, as mentioned above, the ghost orchids diminished in numbers to the point where it was declared officially extinct in Britain in 2010. Today ghost orchids are in the CITES Appendix II and are highly protected by Florida state laws.
If you've seen any of these orchids in real life, lucky for you. But if you want orchids that are just as gorgeous but are sustainable, check out our vast Orchid Collection today.