11 Rare Orchids That Look
Like Animals
(Including A Naked Man)

Monkey Looking Orchids

When you think of an orchid, what usually comes to mind is a pretty pink or white pot plant – right? Well orchids can be found in all shapes, sizes and colours and with more than 35,000 species of orchid in the world one could spend a lifetime discussing them all. Instead we thought it would be much more fun to share the surprising number of orchid species that bear an uncanny resemblance to animals. So in reverse order of similarity, here we go:

Number 11 – The Lion Orchid

Lion Lion Orchid

Ok, so this one we  just sneaked in because in this particular image the orchid looks like a bit like lion and under the rules of the internet, all blog posts must feature a photo of a cat. I have no idea which orchid this is, so if you have any idea, let us know. It even has whiskers!

Number 10 – The Donkey Orchid

Donkey Orchid

Scientific Name: Diuris

Common Name: Donkey Orchid

Habitat: South West of Western Australia

Named the Donkey Orchid due to the two lateral petals, protruding from the top of the flower like the two ears of a donkey. You can almost see this flower squealing “Hee haawwww”!

Number 9 – The Goat Orchid

Goat Orchid

Scientific Name: Ophrys Reinholdii

Common Name: Reinhold’s Bee-orchid

Habitat: Southwest Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Iran & Iraq

This horned flower is said to look like a goat, although to me I would say it looks more like a purple-headed alien giraffe, with its long-necked stem. Either way it’s a bizarre looking flower.

Number 8 – The Bird Head Orchid

Bird Head Bird Head Orchid

Scientific Name: Phalaenopsis sp.

Common Name: The Pink Moth Orchid

Habitat: Southwest Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Iran & Iraq

Some of these species supposedly resemble moths in flight, but within this gorgeous flower there is what looks like a curious ghost-like bird’s head guarding the nectar. Cool yet slightly creepy.

Number 7 – The Green Squid Orchid

Squid Green Squid Orchid

Scientific Name: Prosthechea Cochleata

Common Name: Cockleshell Orchid or Clamshell Orchid

Habitat: Central America, Caribbean Basin, Florida Everglades

With their purple “hood” and floaty green legs these little flowers look like baby squids swimming in the sea. Either that or an alien invasion floating down from the sky to herald their impending takeover of Earth.

Number 6 – The Bee Orchid

Bee Bee Orchid

Scientific Name: Ophrys Apifera

Common Name: Bee Orchid

Habitat: Europe

It looks like a female bumblebee visiting a flower and for good reason too. This sight attracts the male bee which tries to mate with the flower, in the process of which the bee is covered in pollen and then proceeds to spread it around. Clever stuff!

Number 5 – The White Egret Orchid

White Egret White Egret Orchid

Scientific Name: Habenaria Radiata

Common Name: White Egret Flower, Fringed Orchid or Sagiso

Habitat: China, Korea and Russia

This orchid really is uncanny. Its fringed petals replicate a white egret spreading its fluffy white wings ready for take off.

Number 4 – The Fly Orchid

Fly Fly Orchid

Image credit: Ann Mead

Scientific Name: Ophrys insectifera

Common Name: Fly Orchid

Habitat: Europe

Just like the Bee Orchid, this species resembles an insect in order to attract the male of the species, which pollinates the flowers as it attempts to mate with them. Not the prettiest of flowers (unless you’re a male fly obviously, in which case…it’s HOT!).

Number 3 – The Dove Orchid

Dove Orchid

Scientific Name: Peristeria Elata

Common Name: Holy Ghost Orchid

Habitat: Central America to Ecuador and Venezuela

Similar to the Pink Moth Orchid this flower also has a hidden creature inside, in this case it’s an entire dove (well, not a real one, obviously). The bird looks exquisitely carved in an almost Holy stance and it is hard to believe it has been grown by nature.

Number 2 – The Flying Duck Orchid

Flying Duck Orchid

Scientific Name: Caleana Major

Common Name: Flying Duck Orchid

Habitat: Eastern and Southern Australia

This incredible orchid looks like a duck in flight, albeit a pretty weird duck. Surely there is nothing more amazing that orchids can offer, or is there…?

Number 1 – The Monkey Orchid

Monkey Orchid Monkey Orchid

Scientific Name: Dracula Simia & Orchis Simia

Common Name: Monkey Orchid, including one with the moniker “Naked Hanging Man Orchid”

Habitat: Southeastern Ecuador and Peru

Let’s stop monkeying around (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist that) and get to the grand finale. Last but not least is our favourite of all the animal look-a-like orchids, these aptly named flowers either have monkey faces or monkey bodies! The best thing about them is they smell just like ripe orange when fully blossomed.

So, which is your favourite? Or do you have any that you would like to add to the list? Let us know below.

No matter their shape or size, these exotic flowers convey an elegance which make them perfect for gifts. To send one of our splendid orchids, clicky here. All our orchids come with FREE next day delivery.

Exquisitely Exotic Orchids

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  1. September 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm — Reply

    so….my email address If you ever find out what the “lion like” orchid is called I would love to know… is actually very pretty and I would like one. thanks bob finkle

  2. November 10, 2013 at 12:27 am — Reply

    The purple “Monkey Orchid”. As you said, it is the Naked Hanging Man. They shouldn’t be mistaken with each other.

  3. November 11, 2013 at 2:15 am — Reply

    the lion orchid is a phalaenopsis and the photo is upside down

  4. November 12, 2013 at 9:44 am — Reply

    I’d say that the lion orchid is a closeup of a Phalaenopsis sp. upside down. If you look at the lower part of the picture it has the bird head. I hope it helps

  5. November 14, 2013 at 1:27 am — Reply

    The bumblebee orchid looks more like a laughing duck.

    • January 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm — Reply

      Hi there, I tend to agree with Octavia, the bumblebee orchid does look like Donald duck,they r all stunningly beautiful, Nils

  6. December 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm — Reply

    If I read this right, you can order these, however, when I was reading about growing these beauties, it clearly said they only grow and survive in the wild in Austraila. That many have tried to grow them but they depend on the very soil in which they grow. That they will not survive. Maybe there is a reason. They are gorgeous though. God can sure create lovely things.

  7. January 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm — Reply

    by the way about bee male. it not quite go mating with bees. i do not know about bumblebees, as mentioned by somebody, but you say bees, and bees have queen, and only the queen lay eggs that hatch bees, and she mates only once in her life, and it happens up in the air. and male bees, usually stay in the hive with two exception, one at mating, and second when kicked out by bees, and just starve and die.

  8. February 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm — Reply

    Hello, Please tell me where can I buy these orchids here in UK. Thank you very much. Sara

  9. February 4, 2014 at 5:31 am — Reply

    How can I buy this rare orchid?

  10. April 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm — Reply

    where can I purchase the Orchis Simia ..the naked hanging man orchid ? I need help with this PLEASE ..I want to plant my own,,,

  11. May 8, 2014 at 10:35 pm — Reply

    Hiya, it’s a nice article and glad to see you using my fly orchid pic from Flickr (the close up one) as it has got a creative commons license, but if you could please put attribution on though would be grateful – thanks

    • May 13, 2014 at 11:52 am — Reply

      Will do!

  12. June 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    I am guessing that the Lion Orchid is the ; Scientific Name: Bulbophyllum ovatum (Orchidaceae) Common Name: Lion’s Mane Orchid Habitat: Thailand The flowers are tiny (a few mm) and only bloom for five days, so it is not strange this orchid has only been known to science since 1979. In addition, hitherto it has only been found in Thailand and here only in the Khao Luang national park in Nakhon Si Thammarat province in the south (there are many Khao Luang mountains in Thailand).

  13. June 17, 2014 at 11:51 pm — Reply

    I would love to know where I can purchase the Orchis Italica in Australia……??

  14. July 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm — Reply

    Please please can you let me know where I can buy the seed or plants in uk/London ???????

  15. August 13, 2014 at 7:42 am — Reply

    Orchis Simia is European – I have 2 examples chez moi en France

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