Meanings – Love, Beauty, Refinement, Beautiful lady, Chinese symbol for many children
Orchids have fascinated people since the beginning of time. For centuries they have served as symbols of love, beauty and luxury. They have been regarded as aphrodisiacs and were even one of the main ingredients in love potions. When people dream of orchids, they are said to represent a deep inner need to keep romance alive in ones relationship.
Greeks believed they were a symbol of virility. Orchids were called “The plant of the King’s Fragrance” by the Chinese, as long ago as the time of Confucius. Orchids played a role as herbal remedies in the middle ages.
At the beginning of the 18th century, collecting orchids was a practice in many parts of the world. Their attractive rare blooms and fragrances kept people interested in collecting and discovering these beautiful plants. A few orchids had been imported from remote lands by British sea captains. Botanists and wealthy society were enticed by and curious about orchids. In the year 1818, William Cattley potted a strange plant that he thought was part of the shipping in some orchids he had received. In doing so, he created the first Cattleya orchid. Ever since, the world of orchids has been forever changed.
The orchid craze incited the mining of forests for orchids. An English botanist wrote in 1878, “Not satisfied with taking 300 or 500 specimens of a fine orchid, they must scour the whole country and leave nothing for miles. This is no longer collecting; this is wanton robbery.”
Today, the collecting of orchids in the wild is now banned; many orchids are endangered. Orchids, (such as the easy to care for moth orchid), are now readily available for purchase, from greenhouses to home improvement stores.