Cattleya Orchid

Today’s image is a Cattleya Orchid. It’s a hybrid, which I believe is called Taichung Beauty. Not being an expert on exotic orchids I have to search and find the best match.

Orchids like this make great photographic subjects in my view. They are strange, exotic and colorful. When you see one like this, it might as well have come from a different planet. Or it could be some mysterious creature from the deep sea. So when trying to capture an image, I like to find an angle or composition that reflects that overall quality of strangeness.

That may require doing some contortions to get the camera in the right position, and sometimes using some exotic gear. And since I don’t grow these things at home, you have to respect the fact that you’re in someone’s garden. That means taking care not to damage nearby plants. The “do unto others” rule works for me and so far I’ve never had a problem in either a public or private space.

It’s all worth the extra effort if you get an interesting shot. In a virtual world of millions of photographs of everything imaginable, finding a slightly different way of looking at your subject means a lot. Anything you can do that gets someone browsing through hundreds of images to stop for a few seconds is of some benefit. After all, the whole reason for posting images is to share something you thought was extraordinary. Hopefully your image will add a little interest to their day.

One of the things I enjoy about photography in general, and exotic subjects in particular, is doing a little research about them. I enjoy the sense of discovery and broadening my knowledge is always a plus.

  • They are named for William Cattley, a lover of horticulture in the 19th century, who received the first Cattleya plants from Brazil. He was the first to get them to flower in Great Britain.
  • The Cattleya is what most people would recognize as an orchid, making it a ‘type’ species. In high school you may have given or received one as a corsage for the senior prom.
  • They grow in tropical conditions, often in cloud forests where they grow on trees. These orchids have exposed roots which can absorb moisture directly from the humid atmosphere.

Factoid Fun
The vengeful heroine of Luc Besson’s film Colombiana was named Cataleya Restrepo. Her family was involved in the drug business in Colombia and murdered when she was a girl. She later becomes an assassin that leaves a drawing of a Cattleya orchid as her calling card. Critics panned the film but audiences loved it. Colombiana has made more than $60 million worldwide.


Rainforest Alliance – Orchids