Do flowers with monkey faces really exist? They do! These blossoms really resemble playful monkey faces, and – depending on your stance – they can be either adorable or downright creepy. It’s not everyday that you get to peer in to the centre of a flower and see a (monkey) face staring back at you.
These orchids belong to the genus Dracula, which is actually named after Draco, the Latin word for dragon, and not the infamous vampire count. There are about 118 species in the Dracula genus, many of which resemble monkeys.
The Dracula orchid a sought-after plant for home gardeners, not just because of its quirky monkey face, but also because it’s an extremely rare and unique orchid species. The orchids hail from the mountainous regions of Ecuador and Peru at elevations between 1,000 and 2,000m. And it takes 3-8 years of careful care before it blooms. It can flower at any time throughout the year.
Growing a Dracula outside of its natural home is tough because it needs specific humidity, temperature, and light. That’s why it’s usually for advanced orchid fans.
Here are some of the more popular monkey-faced orchids.
The name Dracula simia literally has the Latin word for “monkey” in it. This Monkey Face Orchid has five petals arranged in a pattern that resembles a monkey’s face, with drooping fangs that come in colours like red, green, yellow, pink, purple, and lavender. They emit a fragrance like ripe oranges. And they can bloom throughout the year, sometimes up to 19 years!
The blooms appear around base of plant on short inflorescences. This petals of this orchid are so densely covered with thick, pointed hairs that they resemble the snow monkeys of Japan! It’s probably one of the cuter monkey orchids you’ll see.
The Dracula Felix – or “Fruitful Dracula” – is a petite orchid featuring slender, thickened leaves and small white flowers adorned with dark maroon highlights.
Closely resembling Dracula Simia, the Dracula Gigas has flower stems that hang down about 20 cm, and the flowers point downward. They’re dark brown and have a simple, triangular shape with three long-tailed sepals.
This abundant flowering plant produces numerous cup-shaped flowers on short stems. Each flower has white sepals on the outside and a black interior, with a tiny monkey-like face peeking from within.
Despite their small size, these long-tailed flowers are prolific in number, boasting a perfect rhesus monkey face inside each blossom. They typically produce two flowers on a single stem simultaneously.
Of all the species of monkey-faced orchids, the Dracula Vampira truly lives up to its name. Firstly, the petals resemble a hooded vampire. It doesn’t like to dry out. And it doesn’t enjoy too much light.
As nature’s masterpieces, these monkey-faced orchids not only captivate our imaginations but also underscore the infinite diversity and wonder that the plant kingdom holds. Their uniqueness lies not just in their striking appearance but also in the joy they bring to those who encounter them. So, whether you’re an avid gardener, a curious explorer, or simply someone seeking a smile in the petals, the monkey-faced orchid is a celebration of life’s quirky and beautiful moments.
If you want to see more oddities of nature, check out some funny bird names.