Thursday, April 26, 2018

A rose by any other name might be an orchid

When I was a kid I thought all flowers had an attractive scent. Of course, after sticking my nose into a lot of plants, I realised I was wrong. Some flowers smell lovely, some have a sort of vegetal scent, some no scent at all & some have a distinctly unpleasant aroma.

At the Conservatory the other day, I experienced all of the above with respect to our orchid collection. Currently in bloom we have an orchid that smells of roses, one smelling like fruity peach, one giving off a stale spearmint scent, one a sort of spicy clove-like aroma & these two below. 

This orchid smells of dung--

Tiny blossom, approx 1 1/2 in in length

This one smells of tangy citrus--

Also quite wee

The reason for this variation is that orchids have developed to attract their particular pollinator. I presume that the pollinator for our 'dung' orchid are flies. Perhaps the honey bee is attracted by the citrus-like scent of the spotted orchid below. It would seem that most orchids don't offer a nectar reward to those who stop by, hence their powerful aroma acting as a sort of rouse. It's an empty promise of 'Come and get it!' 

Are there any orchids you've come across that you particularly love or don't love for their scent? 


14 comments:

  1. I obviously need to stick my nose into more orchids. Or perhaps the ones I have come across are all on the bland side. Pleasant 'floral' is all I can remember.

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    1. The smell of stinky socks, chocolate & more await you!

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  2. I haven't smelled many orchids. Interesting flowers.

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  3. Some intersting plants. My Easter Hysentiha are blooming now
    Coffee is on

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  4. Dear Bea, I'm going to share this posting with my sister-in-law who loves flowers, has a gorgeous perennial gardens, and keep orchids in pots within her home. I don't think she knows this about the pollination! Thanks for sharing. Peace.

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    1. Please, do share! Orchids are a fascinating bunch. :)

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  5. My orchid knowledge is extremely limited so I can offer little to enhance this conversation but I did learn a lot and appreciate it. It feels like orchids can be a metaphor on my dating life in college. Take care.

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  6. I've had many plants in my life, but never Orchids. I guess I thought if they were that pretty, they must be hard to grow. But I hopefully can stay away from the one that spells like dung :)

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    1. Ha, yes. Avoid the stinky ones! They look tricky to grow to me, too. I think my mom had an orchid plant in her kitchen for a few years. -pretty, but no scent.

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  7. Haven't noticed much scent from orchids. I particularly like the bottom one.

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    1. Yes, the bottom one has a great petal pattern.

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