Rare orchids can keep you stunned with their beautiful but weird appearance. You may get more stunned the more you see many of these plants as they can be leafless or even look just like animals.
Orchid plants are truly a sight to behold, so keep on reading this article to see some of the rarest ones in the world today.
- List of Rare Orchids
List of Rare Orchids
Below is the list of the rare orchids that exist, and look different from most flowers:
1. Lady’s Slipper Orchid
For most orchid species, you can tell how they look from their name. This beautiful orchid looks like the slipper of a lady because of its labellum. The yellow and dotted labellum or the lip of the flower is slipper-shaped and the flowers usually have twisted petals that can range from scarlet to black, sometimes green.
This rare orchid is native to European and Asian regions and it is the largest orchid species in Europe as it can grow to reach 23 inches tall, it’s scientific name is Cypripedium Calceolus.
Its leaves are ovate and they can grow up to seven inches in length and three inches in width. Each shoot in the plant produces up to four leaves and one to two flowers. The orchid produces an underground stem or the rhizome, and it is a long-lived perennial.
Due to their declining population, slipper orchids are protected legally in many European countries. If you want to grow them, note that they cannot grow in waterlogged soil, in direct midday sunlight, and are vulnerable to slugs and snails.
2. Monkey-Like Dracula
This beautiful but rare orchid can also be called monkey face or monkey orchid when its scientific name is Dracula Simia. The flowers of this species resemble the face of a monkey due to the coloration of their hairs.
This orchid genus “Dracula” got its name from the rusty red colors of its flowers as that color matches the cape of Dracula. The beautiful plant is native to the southeastern region of Ecuador.
The orchid’s flower has a white center and purple or scarlet petals. The upright leaves can grow to reach eight inches tall while the triangular, long-tailed, reddish-brown flowers can reach two inches in height. As an epiphytic plant, this monkey-like plant grows on other plants, especially trees.
It blooms in every season of the year and the flowers have a sweet smell as their scent is similar to that of a ripe orange. To grow this orchid, grow it in indirect light with temperatures ranging from 52 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Nonetheless, remember not to wait until the soil moisture dries out before watering and ensure that the room is richly humid.
3. White Egret Orchid
This may be the most beautiful flower that you have seen. As the name of this species suggests, the flowers of this orchid look so much like a white bird, however the botanic name is Pecteilis Radiata.
The shape and appearance of the flower are due to its lip which has three lobes. Two of the lobes are stretching wide and fringed like wings while the other lobe is long and points down just like the remaining parts of the body of a bird.
From a small pea-sized tuber, grass-like leaves grow to become a beautiful plant. The leaves can reach two to eight inches in height and the flower spike can grow up to 20 inches tall, producing two or three but sometimes up to eight flowers. The peak bloom of this plant occurs in August and it produces new bulbs in summer.
This beautiful orchid is native to Japan, China, Russia, and Korea and it is the official flower of the Setagaya ward in Tokyo. Due to the loss of its grassy wetland and seepage slope habitats, the beautiful orchid has been declining rapidly. Other names for this plant are “fringed orchid” and “sagiso.”
4. Western Underground Orchid
The Rhizanthella Gardneri is not just a rare orchid, it is a very unusual species because of its growth pattern. Just as the name is suggesting, this weird orchid spends most or all of its life underground, with just a few flower bracts reaching a few inches above the soil surface.
It is critically endangered and endemic to the southwest regions of Western Australia. This is a leafless orchid that produces energy in a weird way.
The beautiful orchid has a flower with a pink center and white petals tips. The flower head is produced between May and July, containing up to 100 small cream-colored to reddish flowers that are facing inward and surrounded by large, cream bracts. This plant produces a berry-like fruit that contains up to 150 seeds.
As a leafless plant, the underground plant gets its energy from mycorrhizal fungi, thanatephorus gardneri being the most popular type. This type of nutrition is called myco-heterotrophy and it can only happen in certain habitats. Due to the loss and degradation of habitats, caused by rising soil salinity and drought, the orchid population is fast declining.
5. Prairie White Fringed Orchid
This rare orchid is very similar in appearance to the pecteilis radiata species as it also has three lobes with two extending sideward like a bird’s wings. However, the lobe extending downward is also fringed. Therefore, all the lobes in the lip of the flower are fringed. Nonetheless, it is also called the Plantanthera Leucophaea.
This flower is Native to places in North America, as this beautiful orchid can grow up to three feet tall and has long and slender leaves.
Its inflorescence is showy and large, having up to 40 flowers that grow less than one inch long. This plant is a long-lived perennial that can survive fires. Rain and forest fires help to stimulate the orchid to produce more flowers.
The beautiful plant which starts flowering in May or in June is pollinated by large sphinx moths. Another name for this plant is “eastern prairie fringed orchid.”
6. Ghost Orchid
This orchid has a unique look that can give you the chills. Its name “ghost” comes from the well-camouflaged nature of its roots, but its scientific name is Dendrophylax Lindenii.
The flower hanging from the roots looks like it is floating and not attached to any substrate, so it looks like a ghost. This plant which is native to places in Florida and Cuba is a leafless, perennial epiphyte that grows on trees.
Other names for this orchid are “palm polly” and “white frog orchid.” Its roots are photosynthetic, so it gets most of its nutrients from them. The roots have some distinctive white track marks that they can use for gas exchange just like the stomata in leaves. The flowers are white and can reach one to almost 1.5 inches in width and three to four inches in length.
The flower bracts are thin and feel like paper and produce an intense fragrance early in the morning. The plant’s habitat is a moist, swampy forest. Due to the decline of habitat, this rare orchid is classified as an endangered plant. It is also difficult to grow outside of its habitat. To grow this orchid, make use of a terrarium-like environment with high humidity.
7. Greater Butterfly Orchid
Here is a simple and beautiful orchid plant. This beautiful orchid is native to regions across the entire Europe and Morocco. The genus name “Platanthera” means “broad anthers” while the species name “chlorantha” means “green-flowered.”
This is an herbaceous perennial plant with shiny, broad, and elliptical leaves. Remember that the stem of this plant usually has a large pair of leaves growing at the base.
The flowers of this beautiful orchid are greenish-white and have a scent resembling that of vanilla. The flowers have spreading petals and sepals and a lip that is long, undivided, and narrow. There are multiple flowers growing in the erect spike and the bloom of this plant is a sight to behold.
The orchid is rare as it is only common in its wild habitat and not amongst cultivators. This plant is naturally found in the open scrubs, woods, and grasslands. As long as you are growing it in loose soil, this orchid is very easy to grow.
8. White Fringed Orchid
Another rare orchid is classified as either endangered or threatened according to its location, which is also called Plantanthera. This beautiful plant is one that is native to North America and grows naturally in the western and even southern states of the United States. The species name “blephariglottis” means “fringed tongue” and it refers to the fringed lip in the flower of this orchid.
The beautiful orchid which can grow up from three to 43 inches in height produces flowers from late spring until mid or late summer. The flowers are showy white and densely grow in their spikes. The leaves of this orchid have ovate-lanceolate, linear-lanceolate, or elliptic-lanceolate shapes according to the growing condition and location.
Some agents of pollination for this plant include butterflies, moths, and bumble bees. The ideal habitats for this beautiful orchid are fens, bogs, marshes, woodlands, and meadows. Though this is not a popular orchid to cultivate, it is very easy to cultivate. You only need to grow it in loose soil and ensure that the soil and water salinity are not high.
9. Sky-Blue Sun Orchid
This is truly a rare orchid as it only grows in Tasmania. The most noticeable features of this plant are the pretty blue flowers that it produces . The relatively small flowers which have around six petals are small and colored azure-blue to light-blue, having darker veins.
The single leaves which can grow up to two to eight inches tall and 0.1-0.2 wide are dark-green, fleshy like those of succulent plants, erect, and linear.
The lobe on top of the orchid flower anther is blackish and has a yellow-toothed, fleshy tip while the lobes at the side have tufts of purplish or white hairs resembling a mop. The flowers are pollinated by insects and they open only on warm days. This orchid produces more flowers after a bushfire, especially in summer.
This herbaceous orchid which is critically endangered is tuberous, glaucous, and perennial. It is endangered because of its loss of habitat but is easy to cultivate so it is found amongst orchid lovers, especially in Europe.
10. Fly Orchid
The fly orchid is a very tricky orchid that tricks insects, including male wasps, with the design and colors of its flowers. The flower of this plant is scarlet colored and looks like a fly, wasp, or other similar insects. This plant is a tuberous perennial that can grow to reach two feet in height. It produces insect-like flowers from that bloom from May to July.
This orchid is a thin plant that produces narrow upright grass-like leaves and about one to 10 flowers in a spike. The flowers have yellow-green sepals and reduced dark brown or black petals with a labellum that is darker than the petals. The lip which can be maroon to black resembles the wings of insects and the plant uses the flower to attract pollinators.
Using a scent, this orchid attracts male wasps. While mating with the flowers, the wasps help to pollinate the plant. Another remarkable feature of this plant is that it has a relationship with mycorrhizal fungus, so it gets a lot of energy from them.
The plant is native to Europe and grows best in damp, unimproved, and alkaline soil. If you want to grow it, do not use any fungicide product.
11. Urban’s Paphiopedilum
Here is a beautiful but endangered orchid species. This beautiful plant is endemic to the Philippines, especially in regions around Mindoro. It is characterized by its flower with a purple lip and purple and green petals with dark-purple spots. The green leaves also have spots. It is a subtropical or tropical plant growing in moist lowland forests.
Due to habitat loss and unsustainable collection, this means collecting too many plants at a time, this plant is almost going extinct in the wild. It can be naturally found in pockets of humus between rocks.
The plant’s bloom starts in early winter and ends in early or mid-spring on a terminal, erect, 10 inches green veined maroon inflorescence with ovate, pubescent bracts. The flower stalk has hairs growing on it.
If you want to grow this orchid, grow it in a humus-rich environment with low light and above-average humidity. You can increase the humidity of the room by misting water droplets around the orchid regularly.
12. Vietnamese Paphiopedilum
This beautiful orchid is only found in regions around the Thai Nguyen Province of Vietnam. This plant which was discovered in 1997 is now classified as endangered due to the decline of its habitat. As a lithophyte, it grows naturally on rocks in cool to warm seasonally wet, evergreen, primary, large-canopied forests.
The flowers have a green or yellow center and purple lip and petals. Each plant produces three to five, coriaceous-leathery, distichous, ovate or oblong-elliptic, unequally bilobed, and apical leaves. It produces one or two flowers that can reach six to a maximum of 10 inches in length. The plant produces flowers from late winter to early spring.
If you want to grow this plant, grow it in alkaline, loose, and slightly moist soil. Make sure that the soil would never becomes completely dry for multiple days before watering the plant.
After seeing orchids such as monkey-like Dracula, underground, ghost, and fly orchids, you would surely agree that mother nature continues to surprise us with her beautiful works of art.
If you want to cultivate some of these plants, consider growing white fringed orchids, urban’s paphiopedilum, and other endangered species so that you can help keep them from getting extinct. After seeing some of the rarest orchids in the world, which one’s appearance stunned you the most? Which one would you like to grow?
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