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Black Orchid

“Much like the lotus flower that is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, the Black Orchid is forged from the dark to the light to share its beauty with the world.”

 

My favorite flower is the Black Orchid

By: Liana Fuente

There is much mystery and meaning to this little flower, so delicate, yet balanced with such a hearty leaf. Much like the lotus flower that is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, the Black Orchid is forged from the dark to the light to share its beauty with the world. With such a bold profile, it’s only fitting that Black Orchid has a remarkable backstory, constantly sparking the world’s obsession. “To me, it is the perfect flower… luxurious, elegant, pure, and sophisticated,” Tom Ford.

For centuries, orchids, with all their beauty, dramatic shapes, and colors, have fascinated plant enthusiasts all over the world. Crazy to think these flowers first appeared nearly 200 million years ago and have since spread from the equator to the Arctic Circle and from the Himalayas to Australia. Researchers dated orchids from the Jurassic period (199.6 million to 145.5 million years ago) to the Mesozoic era (195–136 million years ago) and the Cenozoic period (64 million years ago). I often think how such a “delicate” plant was able to survive so many years of climate change and evolution. 

My favorite of all the orchids is the Black Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata). These plants are rare and mysterious, scientifically known as ‘Oncidium atropurpureum’. Black Orchids are not truly black; they’re usually over-pigmented red or purple orchids that are so dark they only appear to be black. Many people ask themselves how Black Orchids are used as a symbol of mystery. Different tribes, cultures, and countries believe them to be symbols of something different, but they share the same meaning as well. Here’s a small list of the different places in which the Black Orchid flower symbol is used:

• People in China believe that this flower represents death. It is therefore forbidden to be used in a home. It is also said that this flower represents the moment when one is reborn.

• In Belize, the Black Orchid is the national flower, which exemplifies both the beauty and strangeness of the Orchidaceae family. This flower is a deep purple hue and features an “upside-down” lip, causing the black orchid to appear to some like a 5-legged octopus.

• During the Roman period (A.D. 476), the orchid roots were eaten or steeped as an aphrodisiac. Ironically, you can find yourself being served an edible orchid in your favorite cocktail.

• In Latin America and primarily in Mexico, the Black Orchid is known to be a flower of peace.

All in all, Black Orchid’s meaning and symbolism are quite mysterious and vast. They represent mystery, power, and sophistication, while also conveying a message of strength, determination, beauty, and rebirth.

This is why I find meaning in the Black Orchid, and I’m sure you will too.

Liana Fuente
liana@lianafuente.com