The Anatomy of an Orchid Flower

Author: Melanie Dearringer1 Comment

Care and Culture

The orchid flower is full of intricate parts. And while there can be variation from genus to genus, all have fairly similar parts. Let’s take a closer look at a Phalaenopsis orchid to better understand the flower’s structure.

Flower shape: Like a human face, an orchid flower is bilaterally symmetrical, meaning the left half and right half are a mirror image of one another. There is speculation that this similarity may be one of the reasons people are so fascinated with orchids.

orchid anatomyColumn: Located above the lip, the column is where the reproductive organs are housed.  Unlike other flowers, most orchids have both male and female parts.

Sepals: Often confused for petals, sepals are the outermost parts of an orchid and are actually the remains of the flower bud. There are typically three sepals on an orchid all approximately equal in size.

Petals: Orchids consist of three petals positioned between the sepals. Two of these look like your average orchid petal, while the third is actually a highly specialized structure known as the lip.

Lip: This is the specialized lower petal of an orchid. Because its purpose is to attract and provide a landing platform for the orchid’s pollinators, it is sometimes larger and more colorful.


Cymbidium Ruby Red photo credit: Jose Pestana via




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One response on “The Anatomy of an Orchid Flower”

  1. Ida says:

    Great article. Whoever wrote this article explained very nicely. It helped me with my science project. Thanks.

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