Another legend comes to light from the plant world, worthy of a cryptozoology review. Do you believe an orchid can eat fairies? Take a close look at the tiny naked men on the this monster- worthy plant and you may change your mind!
If you see this plant there is no way that it won’t catch your eye. Instead of petals, it seems to have tiny naked men hanging from it. Is this a Photoshop success or could it possibly be real?
Oh, it’s real. One of Mother Nature’s little jokes, this is Orchis italica, most often called the “naked man orchid” or “Italian orchid.” This species is native to the Mediterranean area and they grow wild in partial shade, flowering in April.
The Naked Man Orchid grows to 20 inches tall (50 cms) and develops densely clustered “flowers” that are bright pink. A plant this noteworthy must surely have a legend associated with it, right? Yes, it does.
In fairy lore, it was believed that this plant trapped fairies and killed them. You can see how the diminutive size of the “naked man” shaped flowers lent themselves to this interpretation.
Another story goes that fairies just liked to play on this orchid, and the flower petals were actual fairies.
Human nature being what it is, I guess it’s not surprising that these plants were viewed as sexual stimulants. So in ancient times people would put the flowers into a drink called Salep, or Sallop. Lots of luck to them!
Can You Grow It?
This distinctive orchid is native to the Mediterranean region specifically in Northern Africa, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Malta, Cyprus, Turkey, the Aegean Islands, Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. They grow at altitudes around 1300 meters (nearly 1 mile).
All plants have a growing zone in which they’ll survive. Could they grow elsewhere? Possibly, but it might be very difficult to obtain one.
Not To Be Outdone
Lest you think nature is one-sided in its celebration of human forms, let me share this one with you – a variety of impatiens. This rare species comes to us from the rainforests of East Africa and is called Impatiens bequaertii, commonly called the “Dancing Girl” impatiens. Too cute!
We live in a crazy world, don’t we?! LOL!! At least it’s very interesting!
Til the next time!