Orchid Flower History
The word orchid originates from the Greek word orchis, meaning testicle. The bulbs of orchids look like testicles, and for this reason they are known to be aphrodisiacs. Greek women had a theory that they could manipulate the sex of their unborn baby with the roots of an orchid. Supposedly before procreation, if the male ate large orchid stems then the baby would be male, and if the woman ate small orchid stems it would be female. Not only have orchids played an integral role in Greek history, but also during the Aztec period as well. The Aztecs were the first to discover the vanilla orchid in Mexico, and in 1739 they became a popular plant in English gardens. The Aztecs were said to mix a drink with the extract of a vanilla orchid with chocolate and this would give them strength.
During the Middle Ages orchid extracts were used to help cure illnesses. In China orchids are a symbolism of a child's innocent while universally they also symbolize wealth, prosperity, lust and greed. During the 1800s orchids were widely collected plant, in fact in this century over 4000 trees were cut down for the orchids growing on the branches. It was during this time that prices for orchids soared, in Liverpool in particular, some plants were going for 500 pounds for a single orchid plant. Some people in England did not however know how to maintain their orchids resulting in their short life. Despite their short life span, this did not affect the amount of people buying and importing them. Orchids have a startling beauty and maintain their popularity today.