Orchid Symbolism and the Meaning of Gifting Orchids in Different Cultures

Orchid Symbolism

Orchids have a history of meanings and symbolism in different cultures. This exotic flower was first named by a Greek Botanist, Theophratos, who called it “orkhis.” Soon the name Orchid became more common. There is a variety of orchids available around the world with over 20,000 species.

The meaning behind orchids

Orchids are associated with sexuality, fertility, and virility. It is due to their exotic appearance that is has been associated with love in several cultures through the time. People gift orchids to their loved ones on special occasions. Here is what the cultures in different regions of the world believe.


The Greeks

According to Greek culture, orchids were a symbol of fertility and virility. Greeks believed that eating orchids while making love could determine the sex of their child. Men ate large orchid tubers to expect a boy while women ate small orchid tubers to have expected a girl.

The Victorian Era

During the Victorian era, the orchids were a symbol of luxury and affluence. Beautiful orchids were used by men to decorate their hats. The rich household grew orchids in their yards to carry a high stature. Some also believe that only the rich were allowed to grow orchids in their gardens.

The Americans

The Americans have a different theory to tell about orchids when they first became popular. They became a symbol of strength and power. Vanilla orchids were used as an ingredient to mix with chocolate to become stronger. Today the orchids have a different meaning in America, which resembles more with the Greek idea of love and romance. Cattleya orchid is a special flower gifted to people on their 14th anniversary.

The East

In China, orchids have been more medicinal than symbolic. Chinese medicine has found several plants that could be used for medicinal purpose, and orchids is one of such plants. They are supposed to cure Asthma and other lung-related illnesses. Orchids are also said to symbolize happy spirit and positivity. The places where the orchids grow are considered spiritual places. The rocks, trees, and streams are believed to get purified by orchids.

Apart from the regions, the orchids have meaning for their different colours as well. There are plenty of colours that orchids come with, which include:

different colours

White – symbolizes innocence and purity, along with elegance and reverence. It is given to someone who is dear and special in life.

Pink – symbolizes feminity, grace, and joy. It is often used as décor in weddings and anniversaries.

Yellow – symbolizes friendship and new beginnings. It is given by friends to each other to celebrate and occasion and strengthen the bond of friendship.

Purple – Symbolizes royalty and admiration, a sign of respect. It is given to people who have achieved some kind of honour.

Orange – Symbolizes pride, boldness, and enthusiasm. It can be used as a décor for the home to provide the right energy.



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