Ancient and exotic ? Orchids

Geishagirl2 It's only in recent years that developments in propagation have taken the exotic beauty of the orchid into the mainstream but it is in fact one of the oldest and most diverse of flower families on earth. Experts believe that the orchid was around over 120 million years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and since then it's had time to develop into over 30,000 species, with hundreds of thousands of hybrids developed over the years of human cultivation.

The first writings on orchids date back to 700 BC and were by Japanese and Chinese authors. In around 500 BC Confucius wrote of their charm and some Chinese painters dedicated their lives to capturing the beauty of the flower. Many of the most popular orchids today are natives of Southeast Asia but you might be surprised to learn that top of the polls is renowned not for its flowers but its seeds, for it is an orchid which gives us that essential ice-cream ingredient, vanilla. The seed pods of the vanilla orchid are widely used for flavouring and are produced primarily by Madagascar, providing an important income for many independent farmers.

In ancient Greece orchids were associated with virility and in the Middle Ages they were used in medicines to treat a variety of illnesses. Through the ages, they have been a symbol of love, beauty, refinement and good luck. They have also been used as an aphrodisiac, comprising the main ingredient in many love potions!

Our Geisha Girl bouquet (shown) is made up of exotic fushcia miniature orchids, a perfect message of love for any occasion, while for something really special there's our St. Tropez bouquet of gorgeous cymbidium orchids and tropical foliage. 

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