Different Things Orchids Symbolize

By Selena Kohng , last updated May 23, 2011

Because of their elegant, exotic flowering shape, orchids have come to symbolize many things in various cultures. This flower conveys a timeless elegance that, to some, holds even mystical value. Read below to learn the different things orchids symbolize.

Symbolism in History

To the ancient Greeks, orchids represented virility. It was often used as a fertility treatment and even as a means of influencing the gender of a child. If the father of baby ate large orchid tubers, it was thought, the baby would be a boy; If the mother ate small, withered tubers, the baby would be a girl. In the Middle Ages, orchids were used as an aphrodisiac and were the basis of love potions. Orchids also symbolized power and strength to the ancient Aztec Indians, who were the first to discover how to extract vanilla from orchids and mix it into a drink. In Victorian England, orchids symbolized luxury as they were rare in that society; that same meaning carries over today.

Modern Symbolism

Orchids are the official 28th wedding anniversary flower. The pink orchid symbolizes affection. Echoing the notion of fertility from the ancient Greeks, in modern day Chinese culture orchids are seen as symbols of having many children, and are often given as gifts to expectant parents. The white phalaenopsis orchid is popularly used in wedding bouquets and symbolizes beauty. Other meanings that orchids hold include maturity, charm, refinement, and thoughtfulness. Cymbidium orchids are also seen as the official horoscope flower for Libras, who are seen as elegant and romantic. Since Libra is an air sign and orchids are air plants, the meaning and origin go hand in hand.

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