Orchids and Black Orchids! What’s the Difference?
Orchids are epiphytic monocotyledonous and colorful flowering plants. About 30,000 kinds of orchids seem to please you everywhere. Orchids cannot survive the freezing temperature of the Arctic and Antarctica. According to researchers, plants bloom in all colors in nature except for black. Black beauty is rare in green life. By exploring nature, humans are always curious about the rarity.
Orchids that produce black-looking flowers are known as black orchids. The dark blue, purple, and red flowers looking from a distance reflect a black shade.
A careful closer observation of the petals reveals that they are not true black. By crossing 3 species, geneticists produced black hybrids, the M. millennium and Fredclarkeara. Moreover, Masdevallia rolfeana is a fabulous natural pure black orchid.
Favorable Conditions to Grow Black Orchids
Outdoor sunlight ——- Indirect low to medium
Indoor lights ——– No direct sunlight
Amount of Water —– Less to Moderate / 2 to 3 times per week
Ideal soil —— Orchid bark soil mixed with perlite and sphagnum moss
Temperature ——- 65 to 80 F degrees
Ideal humidity ——– 50 to 80 %
Growing nature ————- Fast growing in spring/summer, dormant in fall/winter
Fertilization ——- Diluted fertilizer after 2 times a month in the summer
Pruning ———- If needed
Toxicity ———– Nontoxic or few are somewhat toxic
Popular Varieties of Black Orchids
It has become clear that black orchids are hard to find in nurseries and botanical gardens. With that in mind, we gathered all possible information about accessible black orchids. We assure you that after reading this article, you will be able to recognize and buy them from your nearby areas.
Cymbidium canaliculatum (Tiger Orchid or Boat – Lip Orchid)
Cymbidium canaliculatum is an endemic black orchid of South Northern Australia. It is epiphytic on the bark of the host trees and forms large dense clumps 3 to 6 meters high above the ground.
This average to large-sized orchid gives rise to clusters of 12 to 15 cm long, erect, grayish, and oval pseudobulbs. 2 to 6 leaves are 20 to 50 cm long, 2 to 4 cm wide, pallid, straight, boat-shaped with sharp pointed edges.
Sessile and alternate leaves are fleshy, robust, unbreakable, and spread along with pseudobulbs. 10 to 60 drooping star-shaped blackish popular flower appears from September to October. These flowers are 20 to 50 cm long and aromatic with crimson or purple markings.
Cymbidium canaliculatum Photo Credit
Dracula vampira ( Masdevallia vampira)
Dracula vampira as a big orchid thrives in the cloudy forests of Ecuador and Columbia. The distinctly fantasied name ‘Dracula’ is because of its bat-like flowers. D. vampira is an unusual, bizarre beauty for orchid lovers who relate it to mythical stories.
It grows 27 cm tall by penetrating its roots into mossy trees. It has a short horizontal rhizomatic stem that grows downwards. Leaves are strap-like, green, about 5 to 11 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide.
It displays unique mesmerizing pretty large flowers that appear in winter and summer. Pendulous black orchid Flowers may be burgundy, black, orange, or golden. Due to the habitat loss and lawless collection, this black orchid is on the red list of IUCN.
Dracula vampira Photo Credit
Monnierara millennium Magic ‘Witchcraft’
It is the best example of one of the true rarest black orchids and is a hybrid of Catasetum, Cycnoches, and Mormodes.
All species selected to produce the Monnierara millennium belongs to Central South America. It is a deciduous herbaceous plant that forms only large pseudobulbs. Hence, it becomes leafless in winter, but baby leaves reappear in summer.
Stems are erect with a dozen deep burgundy or dark purple flowers that look black from a distance. Shiny charismatic flowers appear in early summer and give minty or pine fragrance. This clone black orchid can bloom for several months based on environmental factors.
On October 12, 2013, the American Orchid Society gave the FCC / AOS award to the Monnierara millennium for displaying its perfect black mythical flowers.
Monnierara millennium Photo Credit
Monnierara millennium Photo Credit
Fredclarkeara Dark Orchid (SVO Black Pearl)
Fredclarkeara is another human-created black hybrid orchid. It came into existence by crossing the three plant genera in California. Fred Clarke is an Orchidologist who created this black pearl and gave it his name. It reaches up to 25 inches high and 10 to 12 inches wide, with the pseudobulbs.
The turgid stem consists of elliptical leaves with pendulous spikes. Black dramatic blotchy flowers appear in each spike in a pendant manner. 10 to 20 purplish-black 1.5 inches wide flowers smell like bran, ginger, and cardamom. Flowers of Fredclarkeara are long-lasting and persist for 4 to 8 weeks from August to October.
Fredclarkeara dark orchid Photo Credit
Maxillaria schunkeana (Schunke’s Maxillaria)
Maxillaria schunkeana is a gorgeous orchid of the Atlantic rainforests of Southeastern Brazil. It is a tiny epiphytic plant that prefers both hot and cool weather for its growth.
It thrives with conical or tubular pseudo bulbs wrapped by a temporary leaf sheath. Two overlapping apical leaves appear from the sides of leaf sheaths. The tiny 2 cm long black flowers appear dark purplish-red after careful inspection. Black orchid flowers bloom both in summer and fall.
In the 2018 show, the Napa valley orchid society introduced Maxillaria schunkeana to the world for the first time.
Maxillaria schunkeana Photo Credit
Vanda Robert’s Delight
Vanda Robert’s delight is a vibrant hybrid of the warm tropical forests of Asia and the West Pacific. It is an herbaceous perennial that grows as an epiphytic on rocks and tree barks with the slightest soil. It is the most wanted lovely houseplant that also thrives in greenhouses.
Mature plants can reach up to 5 feet high. They have spherical to bell-like, shiny, thick rounded, and overlapping leaves. Large, sturdy roots and 8 to 9 inches arching spikes bear 1 to four inches of ovoid fragrant flowers.
Vanda blooms every after 3 to 4 months in summer and spring that can stay fresh for several weeks. Flowers can be dark purple, blue, yellow, and maroon that appear even in fall.
Vanda Robert’s delight Photo Credit
Phalaenopsis mannii (Mann’s phalaenopsis)
It thrives in the evergreen forests of Eastern Himalayan India, Southern China, and Vietnam. Phalaenopsis mannii loves shady, warm to cool, and medium to high humid habitats.
It tends to appear on rough tree barks nearby marshes and rivers. It shows small to medium growth and reaches a height of 2 to 5 meters in diameter.
This orchid consists of a tiny velvety straight stem surrounded by leaf bases. 3 to 5 leaves emerge from leaf bases that are translucent, sharp, and blue-green egg-shaped.
Leaves have purple marks and are 20 to 45 cm long. Pendulous pendant 45 cm long racemose produces velvety curved starlike flowers in spring. 5 cm long flowers persist for about 2 to 3 months during the flowering season.
Phalaenopsis mannii Photo Credit
Ophrys insectifera (Fly Orchid)
Ophrys insectifera has a wide distribution in different parts of Europe. It spreads all over England, Ireland, Scotland, midlands, Finland, Baltimore, and Spain. Its natural habitats include limestone rocks, deciduous open woodlands, calcareous soils, and marshes.
It has a 50 to 60 cm tall stem and 3 to 5 spotless, translucent blue-green, and egg-shaped leaves. O. insectifera is famous for its insect-looking wonderful alien flowers.
10 to Twenty clusters of dark-colored flowers appear with prominent long green bracts. These flowers consist of the purple-brown labellum, antennae-like petals, pseudoeyes, and blue patch. Fly Orchids bloom in mid-June and are barely visible due to the thick vegetation.
Ophrys insectifera Photo Credit
Trichoglottis atropurpurea (Dark Purple Trichoglottis)
Trichoglottis atropurpurea is a ornament of Philippine islands Luzon, Mindanao, Palawan, and Leyte. It is a warm-growing epiphytic on tree shoots that show average to significant growth. This orchid is about 20 to 60 cm long and 0.4 to 0.8 cm wide.
This outdoor beauty consists of oblong branches with erect apex and white roots. 2 to 4 Cm broad, cylindrical to ovoid, carinate, and bilateral leaves arise from the leafy stem. In spring, T. atropurpurea produces perianal racemose with 6 cm scented maroon-purple flowers.
Trichoglottis atropurpurea Photo Credit
Do black orchids exist in nature?
Researchers have reported that the genes for black flowers do not exist in nature. So, Masdevallia rolfeana is the rarest pure black orchid worldwide. The flowers look darker almost black due to rich pigments like maroon, dark purple, or blue.
For instance, according to the survey, “Phalaenopsis” is a true black orchid. Thus, it will look dark purple or maroon when you look closer. According to the American orchid society 2013, “M. millennium” is a pure black orchid.
Are black orchids much expensive?
Black orchids are precious gems and are the priciest black flowers. They are black fancy flowers that rarely exist in nature. In that context, they are challenging to access.
The main reason behind it is that few countries cultivate it. Then these specific countries export black orchids worldwide. According to recent estimates, Amazon.com offers one black orchid stem for 50 to 850 dollars. Black orchid prices differ due to their rarity and availability in online stores.
What type of black orchids are poisonous?
Not all black orchids are poisonous except few plant species. The Toronto botanical garden declared that the Cymbidium orchid produces quinone. Cymbidium is somewhat toxic because quinone is a protoplasmic poison and natural irritant.
For that reason, whenever Cymbidium comes in contact with humans and pets. It causes skin ulcers and visual disorders. Hence, always wear gloves while pruning and cleaning poisonous plants.
Are black flower orchids scented and how do they smell?
Because of having many exotic romantic fragrances, black orchids are Wow scented plants. They produce enchanting sweet and sour scents. Smelling black orchid flowers will remind you of the familiar natural scents.
All world-famous fragrances are truffle, citrus, berry, ylang-ylang, French jasmine, and black currant. Other black flowers produce deep spellbound aromas like chocolates, sandalwood, and amber.
Some most-recognized black orchid fragrances are Velvet Orchid, Lost Cherry, Ombre Noire, Eau De Parfum, Jo Malone London, Bombshell, and Valentino Uomo Noir Absolu.
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