One of the most exotic flowers, the orchid is beautiful and complex, with many rare varieties--like the elusive ghost orchid--that intrigue and befuddle botanists and photographers. Growing an orchid can be difficult, even to those who have the greenest of thumbs. It is only fitting that the orchid would have a complex and sensual meaning. Forget the red roses and go for white orchids to tell your true love how you really feel.
The orchid's name comes from the Greek word "orkhis," which means testicle. This was due to the appearance of the plants tuberous roots. In Greek mythology, Orkhis was the son of a nymph and a martyr who turned into a flower after he died. Dioscorides, a Greek physician in the first century A.D., wrote in his work "Materia Medica" that orchids influenced sexuality. Since then, the exotic--and erotic-looking--flower has been associated with fertility and virility. People once believed that eating orchid roots could determine the sex of their unborn children.
The orchid is an extremely feminine looking flower. American artist Georgia O'Keeffe is best known for her sensual paintings of flowers, many of them orchids. Because of its delicate and exotic flower, orchids represent beauty, luxury and love. If someone is thoughtful enough to give you an orchid, he must find you to be a rare and sensual beauty.
White flowers are elegant and modest. Their pure colour symbolises innocence, humility and grace. Giving white flowers shows that you are sincere and full of hope, and that you believe that your love is pure. They represent kindness and truth. White flowers are also given or used to mark new beginnings, like on a first date or in weddings.
There are more than 25,000 different types of naturally occurring species of orchids and 100,000 hybrids. The plants have long been a source of medicine, perfume, flavouring and food. Orchids have also been believed to be an aphrodisiac. One of the most popular white orchid flowers is the vanilla orchid, the source of vanilla beans. The Aztecs would look to the vanilla orchid for strength by making a drink made of vanilla and chocolate. Sweet, pure, sensual and energising best describes the vanilla orchid.
The graceful beauty of a white orchid should remain reserved for someone special. There are plenty of other flower choices for any day of the year, but the white orchid is for the wise, the wondrous, the most beautiful and loving person in your life. Give your mother a pink orchid, give your friend a yellow one, but save the white for the person you love the most.