The World's Most Rare Orchids

Many varieties of wild orchids are endangered species.

Many varieties of wild orchids are endangered species.

Flower lovers typically consider orchids to be delicate and exotic flowers. A rare species of orchid is usually defined as one that grows naturally in the wild. Rare orchids are both difficult to find and grow. Of the more than 25,000 different species of the plant, orchid poaching and destruction of native habitats currently threaten many of the varieties that grow in the wild.

Caladenia Arenaria

The Caladenia arenaria, more commonly referred to as the sand hill spider orchid, is a rare and endangered flower species that grows in small numbers in the wild. Weed invasion and animals grazing on them pose a serious threat to these plants. The sand hill spider orchid has five thin, spreading petals and long, lateral sepals that create a cross shape. Leaves are hairy and reddish in color at the base. This variety of orchid is native to the southwest plains of Australia. The flower blooms between September and November each year.

Ghost Orchid

Dendrophylax lindenii, otherwise known as the Ghost Orchid, is a rare orchid that grows in the Florida wild. Jean Jules Linden first discovered the ghost orchid in 1844 growing in the swamps of Cuba. Like other tropical orchids, these orchids are found in the semi-tropical southern region of Florida. Only between 5 and 10 percent of the estimated 1,200 or so ghost orchids growing in the Florida swamplands bloom each year. This type of orchid usually produces only one flower although it can produce multiple blooms. The flower resembles a white frog with long legs. Since the plant does not have leaves, photosynthesis takes place through the roots. Because the ghost orchid is an endangered species, it is illegal to remove one of the plants from its natural habitat in the wild. The plant is referred to as a ghost orchid because it grows in places where most people never go.

Jewel Orchid

Jewel orchids are known for their foliage rather than their flowers. Native to the Pacific islands, these plants grow on the dark floor of the jungle. Alba and variegated varieties of the plant are extremely rare. When the sunlight shines on the orchid at a certain angle, the leaves glitter like jewels. The leaves of jewel orchids are usually green in color with red veins. Unlike other species of orchids that grow on trees, jewel orchids are ground orchids that are found in Indonesia and Malaysia. The Ludisia discolor alba is a popular variety of the jewel orchid that does not have red pigment. The leaves are green but the veins are light green to silver in color. This orchid thrives in humid climates in areas of little light.

Vanda Biswasiana

Vanda biswasiana is a rare species of the genus Papilionanthe. This orchid has showy flowers that are white or a pinkish blush in color. The plant is hardy but needs lots of light for the flowers to bloom. Vanda biswasiana climbs on trees to get the sunlight. The leaves grow in an upward direction. This species of orchid is found in regions of Indonesia and Indochina. It also grows in the Himalayas. A narrow side lobe raises upward and looks like horns. The orchid is characterized by a slim and narrow lip with leaves that sometimes have spots.

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