I am unashamedly crazy about orchids – especially indigenous South African Orchids. Anyone who has walked with me on Table Mountain when the conspicuous orchids are flowering will attest to this. Now is the time when the Red Disa (Disa uniflora) flowers and every year I make at least a few pilgrimages in order to see this magnificent flower.
For thousands of years humans have associated orchid flowers with sexuality. In fact the name “orchid” derives from the Greek word “orkhis” which means a testicle. As long ago as 2,014 years ago the Greek physician Dioscorides (after whom another wonderful plant genus is named) suggested that Orchids could influence human sexuality. Ancient Greek parents believed that the sex of an unborn child could be influenced by the parents eating specific sized orchid roots. It was even believed that Orchids grew on the ground where animals had bred. Ever since those days orchids have been associated with fertility, virility and other aspects of human sexuality and are considered by many to be a powerful aphrodisiac. No doubt these beliefs have been influenced by the erotic appearance of their sexual parts. In fact the Victorian English artist, writer & art critic found their blatant sexuality to be offensive and described them as “prurient apparitions”.
Decide for yourself: