7 Orchids that Could be Mistaken for Animals

Author: Melanie Dearringer4 Comments

Blooming, Care and Culture, Classification

I find orchids to be fascinating plants. They can be found in all shapes, sizes, and colors. With more than 22,000 identified orchid species and 100,000 orchid hybrids in the world, are you really that surprised to find that there are several species that closely resemble animals? To be honest, I was. And as I write this, I find that I still am amazed by the photos below.

Bee Orchid

Ophrys Apifera

Binomial Name: Ophrys Apifera
Resembles: a Bee
Height: 6-20”
Bloom: Mid Spring to Early Summer
# of Flowers: 1-12
Location: Europe
Interesting Fact: This orchid lures male bees by emitting a scent that is similar to that of a female bee. Its enticing smell, coupled with its bee like appearance, is what really sells the deception. When an exploited bee comes to mate, it is covered in pollen, thus pollinating the next orchid it visits.


Flying Duck Orchid

Caleana Major

Binomial Name: Caleana Major
Resembles: a Flying Duck
Height: 12-18”
Bloom: Fall to Mid Winter
# of Flowers: 2-5
Location: Eastern and Southern Australia
Interesting Fact: Pollinated via male sawflies. When the insect touches the orchid’s labellum, it quickly snaps shut trapping the sawfly. The sawfly then deposits any pollen it may be carrying and picks up new pollen. Once released, the sawfly pollinates the next orchid it visits.


Goat Orchid

Ophrys Reinholdii

Binonial Name: Ophrys Reinholdii
Resemblers: a Goat
Height: 8-23”
Bloom: Spring
# of Flowers: 2-10
Location: Southwest Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Iran, & Iraq
Interesting Fact: This goat-like orchid is actually part of the bee orchid family.



Squid Orchid

Prosthechea Cochleata

Binomial Name: Prosthechea Cochleata
Resembles: a Green Squid
Height: 6-12”
Bloom: Year Round
# of Flowers: 2-4
Location: Central America, Caribbean Basin, Florida Everglades
Interesting Fact: This orchid is listed as endangered in the state of Florida.



Donkey Orchid

Diuris Drummondii

Binomial Name: Diuris Drummondii
Resembles: a Donkey
Height: 20-40”
Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer
# of Flowers: 3-8
Location: Western Australia
Interesting Fact: This particular species flowers more profusely in the season following a fire or a burn.



Monkey Orchid

Dracula Simia

Binomial Name: Dracula Simia
Resembles: a Monkey
Height: 16-24″
Bloom: Year Round
# of Flowers: 1 per stem
Location: Southeastern Ecuador
Interesting Fact: Most often when someone speaks of a “monkey orchid”,  they are referring to another species, Orchis simia. It is said that this orchid’s numerous flowers look like a group of monkeys dancing. You be the judge.


White Egret Orchid

Habenaria Radiata

Binomial Name: Habenaria Radiata
Resembles: a White Egret
Height: 6-15”
Bloom: Late Summer to Early Fall
# of Flowers: 2-3 per stem
Location: China, Korea, and Russia
Interesting Fact: The white egret orchid typically produces 3 replacement bulbs each season. If handled properly, this plant is easily multiplied.


Do you have any orchids you would like to add to the list? Which was your favorite?


Photo “Ophrys Apifera” courtesy of  Hans Hillewaert. via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ophrys_apifera_(flower).jpg
Photo “Caleana Major” courtesy of  Peter Woodard. via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elvina_Track_Flying_Duck_Orchid.jpg
Photo “Ophrys Reinholdii” courtesy of  Orchids Plus More.com. via http://www.google.co.za/imgres?q=orchid&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=817&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=hyYctGz_oc5XoM:&imgrefurl=http://www.orchids-plus-more.com/Orchidaceae-july07-orchid-newsletter.html&docid=xxmuA-etWezWWM&w=400&h=521&ei=VnpfTrTzH4fC8QP2hYGuAw&zoom=1
Photo “Prosthechea Cochleata” courtesy of  Doris Lohmann. via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Encyclia_cochleata_-_flower.jpg
Photo “Dracula Simia” courtesy of  ColumbusGVTeam.com. via http://www.flickr.com/photos/gvtbolivia/2707812344/
Photo “Habenaria Radiata” courtesy of  Alpsdake. via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Habenaria_radiata_flower.JPG
Photo “Monkey Face Orchid” courtesy of  Melissa. via http://jamjarflowers.co.uk

Reference: Wikipedia via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchidaceae

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4 Responses to “7 Orchids that Could be Mistaken for Animals”

  1. DIANE says:

    Want to know if will grow in florida.

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      In general, orchids do very well in Florida because of the naturally warm year-round temperatures and humidity. However, it will also depend on the variety of orchid you are referring to.

  2. V Templeton says:

    Please, can I use your text as test pieces for word processing?

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      You may use our written content if you provide full credit. Thanks!

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