What type of Orchid do I have?

How Do I Tell Which Orchid I Have?

Understanding the basic anatomy of the plant will help you identify the type of orchid plant you have faster. In this case, the main features to look at are the flowers, leaves, and stems. 

  • Flowers-the flowers of different orchid species have different shapes, sizes, and colors. The size varies from an inch to several inches. When considering color, note that many species come in a wide array of shades. There are unique ones like blue and others are common like white. For example, Brassavola orchids have star-shaped, white or greenish flowers between 1 and 5 inches across and three narrow pale green petals.
  • In addition, some orchids have distinct male and female flowers. When Catasetum orchid blossoms, the male flowers are more conspicuous and can appear even in low light, unlike females. Bumping the bloom ejects the pollen into the air.
  • Plant leaves– the orchid’s natural habitat determines the size and shape of the leaves. The number of leaves and the position they appear will also help identify the orchid type. For example, dryland species have succulent leaves to retain water.
  • The roots– some of them have straight roots while others have coiling. 
What type of soil do you use for orchids?
Orange Orchid flowers

Orchid Identifier Online

If you are trying to identify your orchid variety, it is good to know that there is no single online orchid identifier, but this article can help. The best thing you need to focus on is the most common varieties to identify your orchid. 

The following are some of the most common orchids to start your identification. 

Cattleya orchid

What type of orchid do I have?
A Cattleya Orchid in bloom

It is often referred to as the queen of orchids and is native to central and southern America. It has enormous and fragrant blossoms. The flowers are showy and often used in corsages. 

  • It has pseudobulbs for storing water 
  • Its roots are large and fleshy
  • The roots are also spongy to capture moisture 

Dendrobium 

What kind of Orchid do I have?
Pink Dendrobium Orchid

It is among the most common orchid varieties, with over 1,500 species native to the eastern hemisphere. They are common in environments that range from the south pacific islands to the foothills of India. Here are its identifying features.

  • It has cane-like stems where the flowers grow
  • Some of them are deciduous 

Oncidium

Orchid identification
Brightly colored Oncidium Orchids

These orchid varieties are native to the western hemisphere, and they are common in habitats ranging from sea level in the tropics to the high altitudes in Andes Mountains. 

  • They have mostly yellow and brown flowers , but some species bear pink, magenta, red, white, or green blooms
  • The flowers also have a broad, flat lip that earns the orchid the name “dancing ladies” as it resembles ruffled skirts
  • They have exotic markings

Other popular orchids include Phalaenopsis and Vanda. Once you know the features of the common varieties, you can identify yours without much hustle.

Orchid Phalaenopsis Identification Chart 

Many types of orchids grow in different climatic conditions. The following are the major ones. 

Common name Scientific name Blooming season 
Moth orchid phalaenopsisIt blooms once a year in late spring and summer in typical outdoor conditions. 
Noble Dendrobium orchid DendrobiumIt produces flowers in almost all colors in the universe between February and June. 
Boat orchid Cymbidium It is a common houseplant that blooms from autumn to spring.
Cattleya labiataCattleyaCattleya is a common mothers’ day bloom in spring, but some species still bloom in fall
Grey orchid or Checkered VandaVanda Under the right growing conditions, it can bloom any time of the year. Still, it is a cyclic plant blooming every few months and flowers lasting up to 4 to 8 weeks at a time. 
Ascocenda × AscocendaUnder the right conditions and proper care, they can bloom easier than vanda many times a year. 
Pansy orchid Miltonia They start blossoming in early spring bearing brown, yellow, white, red, or green flowers. 
What type of Orchid do I have?
Orchid Phalaenopsis Identification Chart

Types of Orchids with Names and Pictures

Besides the common orchids, you might know, there are many other varieties you can consider when you want to add some beauty to your garden. Below is a list of some orchid species with pictures. 

  • Showy tiger orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum)
  • Noble rock orchid (Dendrobium nobile)
  • Putty Root Orchid (Aplectrum hyemale)
  • Ruffled Dancing Lady orchid (Oncidiums)
  • Pink Lady’s Slipper orchid (Cypripedium acaule)
  • Spectacular Big Lip orchid (Phalaenopsis ‘Big Lip’)
What type of orchid do I have?
Tiger Orchid flowers

What Is the Most Common Type of Orchid?

Phalaenopsis, commonly known as moth orchid, is the most commonly known type of orchid. A great houseplant, it is more forgiving than any other variety should there be a mistake in their upkeep. 

  • They have opposing flat dark leaves 
  • They have tall stems and long branches
  • They bear wide, flat, white flowers with a smaller lip than the petals
  • Their blooms last longer than any other orchid
Orchid identification online
Moth Orchid flower

What Are the Major Types of Orchids?

If you seek to add color to your compound, there are several types of orchids you can consider. Here are some of the major ones.

  • Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis)
  • Noble Dendrobium (Dendrobium)
  • Boat orchid (Cymbidium)
  • Cattleya labiate (Cattleya)
  • Ascocenda (× Ascocenda)
  • Grey orchid or Checkered Vanda (vanda)
  • Pansy orchids (Miltonia)
What kind of Orchid do I have?
Vanda Orchid

What Is the Rarest Orchid?

Rothschild’s slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum rothschildianum) is the rarest in existence. It is a unique plant that holds its flower petals horizontally, giving the flower an outstanding appearance. It produces up to 6 huge blooms from April to May. The rare plant is mainly found in Northern Borneo in the rainforests around the Kinabalu mountains. 

How to Identify Orchids Without Flowers?

Many people rely on flowers to identify different types of orchids. But did you know you can still identify orchids without blooms? Follow the following ways.

Observe the leaves 

Orchid leaves appear in various colors and shapes. Some are round, while others are long and sharp. The plant’s habitat and growing conditions significantly impact the shape of the leaves. 

Observe the roots 

The potting medium often affects the roots of the orchid. Some orchids have aerial roots to acquire nutrients from the air, while others are terrestrial, meaning they grow deep in the soil. 

Observe the pseudobulbs 

Some orchid varieties have pseudobulbs to store water for later use. The pseudobulbs come in different forms in different species.

Other resources related to identifying Orchids:

How to Identify Orchids: The Comprehensive Guide

Orchid Identification – What Kind of Orchid Do I Have? – rePotme

What kind of orchid do I have?

Identifying Orchids | Longwood Gardens

Clarisse Walters
Essential Garden Guide