Orchids from Another Planet

If we ever found flowers on another planet, could they possibly be stranger than these earthly orchids? Some of these blooms look like visitors from Mars or Neptune.

Masdevallia caudivolvula, orchid species with spiral petals, pinwheel flower, Pleurothallid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, CaliforniaPsychopsis flower, Butterfly Orchid, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaProsthechea cochleata, aka Encyclia cochleata, clamshell orchid or cockleshell orchid or Octopus Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2008, San Francisco, California

Despite their alien facades, they’re simply members of the enormous orchid family, which has diversity beyond measure. Their long Latin names, like Masdevallia caudivolvula and Sigmatostalix posadarum, are sometimes bigger than the blooms themselves. They may resemble birds in flight or deep sea creatures, but they don’t look much like flowers.

Sigmatostalix posadarum, miniature orchid species, flower that looks like a bird, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, CaliforniaStanhopea flower, Orchids in the Park 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaGongora truncata, orchid species, flower that looks like a bird, Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, San Francisco, California

Pleurothallis cyanea, orchid species, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, CaliforniaPossibly Dracula chestertonii, orchid species, Pleurothallid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium spectabile, orchid species, flower close up, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, California

In choosing photos for this post, out of many years of our orchid show pictures, the Bulbophyllums truly stood out. This large, diverse group of orchids has lots of weird blooms. The last row of photos below shows three Bulbophyllum examples, but there were many more. Don’t these flowers look like they could have come from another planet?

Bulbophyllum flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2006, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum falcatum v. falcatum, orchid species, Orchid Society of NW Pennsylvania Show 2010, Erie, Pennsylvania

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