While familiar in form to most of us, orchid flowers retain a sense of the profoundly exotic, especially those blooms of the Paphiopedilum variety.
These distinctive orchids have been collected from their forest floor and canopy habitats of Southeast Asia, and are now widely cultivated and hybridized. I have never managed to keep a Paphiopedilum maudiae orchid happy among my small houseplant and orchid collections, but I have been lucky to see many of these dramatic flowers at orchid shows and greenhouses.
This pair of fuzzy pink and chartruese lady slipper orchids are some of my favourites, with both stripes and spots in varying shades and petals bristling with tiny hairs; striking and delicate all at once.
I have collected many photos of orchid flowers over the years, and have gathered the most stunning specimens into a gallery of Orchidaceae images available as fine art prints. I have not had a chance to identify most the the specific orchid varieties, and if you are an orchid aficionado who is good at plant identification, I have a print-discount code for you in exchange for a few good taxa tips – leave a comment on this post if you’re interested!
Many years ago, in the milder climate of coastal California, I fell in love with orchids. It started innocently enough with the gift of a Phalaenopsis or two, and after finding them relatively easy to care for I began to explore the wider world of Orchidaceae. Along the California coast there are many orchid growers, and I discovered greenhouses open to the public in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, where orchids of every variety and color could be seen and photographed.
My orchid collection grew, and I learned that some varieties were very forgiving when I’d forget to water them or would fertilize them irregularly despite the recommendations and warnings of other enthusiasts. I even attended a few Orchid Expositions, to see the most exotic and amazing flowers, and it was at one of these events that I spotted the orchids in this photograph. Masdevallia have always been a bit beyond my orchid-keeping abilities, as they are particularly sensitive to humidity and my home can’t be maintained as a greenhouse climate, but I fell in love with their unusual shape and bright colors and captured this photograph to enjoy instead.
I have added this image as a new release, to a collection of square prints sized and priced for the casual art collector. These charming, colorful flowers are available to brighten any room, in sizes that start at $30 USD, with gallery canvas wrap and standout mounting options available – with the added bonus that an art print is much easier to care for than these sometimes finicky orchid varieties.
With an estimated 20,000+ individual flowering species, the Orchid family of plants is considered one of the most diverse and highly evolved forms of life with roots, leaves and flowers.
Orchids exist in every habitat except glaciers, and new species are still being discovered. My encounters with orchids typically take place in greenhouses or at orchid collector expos, and on occasion, in my own home.
Most people understand orchids to be terribly finicky and temperamental houseplants, and for many varieties a haphazard windowsill lifestyle certainly won’t work. I have learned though, through extensive trial and error that there are dozens of orchids that are quite happy to live by a bright window and receive intermittent water and attention, and the reward is always remarkable. With colourful flowers that range wildly in shape and size, just one orchid plant in bloom can transform a room.
I’ve accumulated hundreds of photos of orchids over the years, collected on my website, available for stock licensing and prints. I hope to have the time to research more specific identification for some of the more unusual specimens. In the meantime, feel free to explore the remarkable variety of these exotic flowers!