There are around 30,000 species of orchids in total, so does it really surprise you that there's one that looks like a monkey's face?
Nature never ceases to amaze us, and now the latest one to do the job is an orchid that shares an uncanny resemblance to monkeys. Orchids are one of the largest plant families in the world, and there are up to 30,000 species of orchids! So it's safe to say that there ought to be several varieties that most of us wouldn't have seen at all, and the Monkey Orchid falls under that category. The Dracula Simia (translated as "little dragon monkey"), or Monkey Orchid, is native to the forests of Southeastern Ecuador and Peru. To discover it, you will have to indulge in a fair bit of hiking, because the plants thrive in cloud forests between 1000 and 2000 meters above sea level.
Botanist Carlyle A. Lueren gave them the unique name in 1978, in reference to its long, fang-like petals. The unique fact about these orchids is that they might look like simians, but they definitely don't smell like it - when bloomed, the Monkey Orchid gives off a pleasant citrusy scent of ripe oranges. Most flowers are seasonal and only bloom at a particular time, but not these monkeys. When they're in their natural habitat, they can flower any time of the year.
The orchid genus Dracula comprises 118 species of the flower, all of which are native to Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and almost half of the subspecies can be found in Ecuador alone. This means that it's not easy for them to bloom in captivity, but sure, give it a shot. They require a very precise set of environmental conditions. They prefer almost 70%-100% humidity, cooler temperatures, and low light, mimicking their natural cloud forest habitat.
These cute little monkeys grow only up to 2 feet tall, and if you're trying to grow them at home, it's best to pot them in sphagnum moss instead of soil. As earlier mentioned, they're notoriously difficult for a novice to grow, but the Dracula Simia, along with several other species of Dracula orchid, is a prized addition to any hobbyist orchid grower's collection! And we don't blame them, who wouldn't want to have these adorable flowers making a statement in their greenhouse?
So, a lot of people who read about this were quick to say that these orchids were something they'd never seen in their life and some of them even found it to be creepy looking. Carritha Wright Lewis wrote: Kind of looks like the talking flowers in Alice in wonderland. Theresa Williams added: Creepy, scary. Something I would plant by my gate in my back alley. Morgan Schultz mentioned: My daughter would love these as she does love monkeys.