Discover the tasty and enigmatic Vanilla orchid in Barb’s latest article
How often have you had vanilla ice cream or added some vanilla extract to your favorite cake? Have you ever considered where that comes from?
The Vanilla orchid is one of the oldest orchids still around today. Because it’s so old, Vanilla orchids have some pretty unique features. Rather than the stacking leaf shape typical of other monopodials or pseudobulbs like sympodial orchids, Vanilla plants are vines that climb up trees or rocks in their native environment.
In this month’s issue of Orchids magazine, Barb tackles some of the most common questions and misconceptions about the Vanilla orchid. She takes readers back in time to the Late Cretaceous when the Vanilla orchid first arose and moves through the millennia to cover the full history of how vanilla became an internationally popular spice. In her article, Barb covers Vanilla’s natural habitat and how it grows. She also discusses its unique flowering and pollination requirements and how those drive the price of natural vanilla extract up so high.
Barb also identifies the dangers Vanilla orchids are facing with their bee pollinators heading for extinction. What will happen to these ancient orchids if their pollinator dies?
To learn more about the future fate of Vanilla orchids and pick up some fun new tidbits of orchid trivia, check out Barb’s March article in Orchids Magazine.
AOS members can see the magazine here: http://www.aos.org/about-us/orchids-magazine.aspx
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Jen Schmidt is a graduate student at Cornell University who, with the help of her mother (Barb), is turning into a crazy plant lady at a young age.