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

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:

Naked man orchid

Number 11 – The 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!

Lion Orchid

Number 10 – The 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”!

Donkey  orchid

Number 9 – The 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.

goat orchid

Number 8 – The 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.

Bird orchid

Number 7 – The 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.

Squid orchid

Number 6 – The 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!

Bee orchid

Number 5 – The 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.

Egrit orchid

Number 4 – The Fly Orchid

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.

Image source:

Fly orchid

Number 3 – The 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.

Dove  orchid

Number 2 – The 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…?

Flying duck orchid

Number 1 – The 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.

Monkey and naked man  orchid

No matter their shape or size, these exotic flowers convey an elegance which make them perfect for gifts. So, which is your favourite? Or do you have any that you would like to add to the list?

By Asta Foufas