Orchids are one of the most popular and most fascinating flowers in the world. They are always present on the most expensive and rarest flowers list. This is because of their unique beauty but also because there species that are so rare that can only be seen once in hundreds of years. The orchid family (Latin name Orchidaceae) is one of the two largest families of flowering plants; there are between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species.
Science aside, orchids are mostly known because of their mesmerizing flowers which come in many structural variations, colors and fragrances. Although part of a huge family, there are many orchids that are critically endangered and can be rarely seen in nature. And that’s a darn shame, but if you pay attention you’ll get a change to admire the 10 most rare of them all.
10. The Ghost Orchid
Discovered in Britain in 1954, they were only seen 11 times in the next 100 years which makes them one of the rarest flowers in the world. As for their name, they got it because of their creamy-white to pinkish-brown color and their fleeting occurrences in dark, shaded woods.
9. Yellow and Purple Lady Slippers
Yellow and Purple Lady Slippers are another very rare member of the orchid family that are mostly found in London and some other areas in Europe. The combination of yellow and purple on one flower is extremely rare to be found in nature, which is why they are protected by the law in London.
8. Hochstetter’s butterfly-orchid
This orchid is definitely Europe’s rarest species and one of the rarest in the world as well. We are talking about the Hochstetter’s butterfly orchid or Platanthera azorica which has been recently rediscovered on a single volcanic ridge in the Azores; nearly two centuries have passed since the Hochstetter’s butterfly-orchid was last seen.
7. Coleman’s coralroot
This stunning purple orchid can be found in only a few mountain ranges in the Southwest. Coleman’s coralroot or Hexalectris colemanii is a true mystery; there are only 200 of these rare orchids in the wild and they are very rare to be spotted.
6. Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum or known as Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid is so expensive, due to the fact that it is extremely rare, it takes around 15 years to grow and bloom and obviously it is breathtakingly beautiful.
5. Dragon’s Mouth
Dragon’s Mouth or Swam-pink is a very rare terrestrial orchid that can be found in in bogs, swamps and other humid places in Eastern USA, North America and Eastern Canada.
4. Sky Blue Sun Orchid
Thelymitra jonesii is a critically endangered member of the Thelymitra genius also known as ‘sun orchids’. They are called ‘sun orchids’ because they open their flowers only when the water is warm. It can be found only in Tasmania, while the species flowers from October to early December.
3. Hawaii bog orchid
This fringed orchid is one of the three species that can be found in Hawaii and lives in a bog, where the local wild pigs can’t reach it. Its pale green leaves are egg-shaped and greenish-yellow flowers occur on open spikes. The orchids from this genus are also known as butterfly orchids.
2. Bull Orchid
Dendrobium taurinum is also known as bull orchid because of its twisted, hornlike petals. They are found in green, purple and white color. It is found in the Philippines and in the Indonesian Province of Maluku.
1. Threebirds orchid
Triphora trianthophora is commonly known as threebirds orchid, nodding pogonia or nodding ettercap. It is threatened in New England, and rare or threatened throughout much of its range in North America. These rare orchids thrive in semi-dry woodlands, near the bases of hardwood trees.