Monkey face orchid facts


Monkey Orchid and 5 Other Amazing Animal Orchids!

I know, I know, these aren’t really animals. However, these species of orchids look so much like different species that I just had to share them all with you. Prepare to be blown away by the most amazing orchids you’ve ever seen:

Monkey Orchid

photo via:

photo: Columbus GV Team


photo: Melissa,

This species of orchid, aptly named the Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula simia), was created after Mother Nature decided to do a bit of monkeying around (hah!). These rare monkey orchids only grow in the cloud forests of southeastern Ecuador and Peru at elevations of 1,000-2,000 meters on the side of mountains. In the scientific name, “simia” refers to the monkey face and “Dracula” refers to the two long spurs that hang down, almost like fangs.

What makes this flower even cooler (as if it needed to get any more awesome) is that it smells just like a ripe orange when fully blossomed. Incredible!

Bee Orchid


photo via:


photo: Robert Thompson

This incredible orchid is called – can you guess? – the Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera). It resembles a female bumblebee visiting a pink flower to attract the attention of male bees. Thinking another one of their kind is there, they try to mate with it. In the process they get covered in the orchid’s pollen and end up spreading it around as they fly and pollinating other flowers as they go. You can find these amazing orchids scattered about England, Ireland, and Wales.

Bird’s Head Orchid

photo: Shannon

photo: Ferneygarcia

photo: Tom E.

photo: Edward Bray

This Pink Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.) is absolutely gorgeous and amazingly cool for the sole reason that it looks like it has a little bird’s head guarding the nectar on the flower. It’s so well-formed that it almost looks like a little baby bird fell into the flower and got stuck there. I’m not exactly sure why the orchid looks like this but thank God it does! What a cute little orchid.

White Egret Orchid

photo via:


This elegant orchid is called the White Egret Orchid (Habenaria radiata) because it looks just like a… white egret! The flower looks like the bird is spreading its fluffy white feathers, getting ready to take off. Look, how similar are these guys?

photo: Stephen LeQuier

Dove Orchid

photo via:

photo: M.a.h.S

photo: Saji Antony

Similar to the Pink Moth Orchid is this Holy Ghost Orchid (Peristeria elata) which also has a little hidden creature inside it. In this case though, it’s not just the head of a bird but an entire bird! A dove, to be exact. What a peaceful looking flower, don’t you think?

Flying Duck Orchid

photo: Michael Prideaux

photo: moloch05

photo: Robert Andrew Price


So last but certainly not least is perhaps my favorite of all the orchids on the list – the Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major). It’s a small orchid, about 50 cm tall, that grows in eastern and southern Australia. It’s the mots remarkable flower – it seriously looks just like a male duck in flight! Nature just amazes me.

Which was your favorite animal orchid?

Edit 7/7/13: I’ve received quite a few emails (to say the least) about where you can purchase these orchids. I’ve found some seeds being sold online and will list them below for your viewing pleasure. Note: I have no affiliation with these companies and do not know how great the product will be. Just sayin’! 🙂

Unfortunately, no luck on the White Egret Orchid, Holy Ghost Orchid, or the Flying Duck Orchid 🙁 You’ll just have to enjoy looking at them on The Featured Creature 😉

Credit: CCTV News

We all know of moth orchids, more commonly known as the Phalaenopsis orchids, whose shapely petals resembles the wings of a moth. But have you heard of the monkey-faced orchids, which, to our amazement, looks exactly like the primate it was named after? See it to believe it.

A rarer than rare breed of orchids, the Dracula simia is an epiphytic plant (or a plant that thrives on top of another plant without affecting or causing the later any harm) with uniquely shaped petals and center that paints a perfect picture of a monkey – a smiling one at that.

Aside from its unique appearance, the monkey-faced orchid is also famous for the sweet fruity fragrance it gives off when it’s in full bloom, reminding you of (no, not bananas) ripe and juicy oranges.

Credit: CCTV News

While nothing would be cooler than having your very own orchid arrangement or potted orchid plant made of monkey-faced orchids beaming back at you and naturally freshening up su casa into with its citrus scent, unfortunately, these orchid species are not only hard to come by, but apparently could be impossible to grow in typical environments. According to experts, these exceptional orchid plants only thrive naturally in the cloud forests of southeastern Ecuador and Peru, from elevations of 1,000 to 2,000 meters.

Credits: JaromirAzarov

Earlier this year, curious tourists and orchid aficionados alike headed over to Japan to witness a flower display dedicated solely to these one-of-a-kind orchid plants. In celebration of the Year of the Monkey, Aquamarine Fukushima, otherwise officially known as the Marine Science Museum, Fukushima Prefecture, in Iwaki launched an aptly themed exhibit last January the monkey-faced orchids.

Stay tuned as we feature more surprises from Mother Nature!

Growing Monkey Flower Plant – How To Grow Monkey Flower

Monkey flowers, with their irresistible little “faces,” provide a long season of color and charm in moist or wet parts of the landscape. The blossoms last from spring until fall and thrive in wet areas, including marshes, stream banks and wet meadows. They also grow well in flower borders as long as you keep the soil moist.

Facts About the Monkey Flower

Monkey flowers (Mimulus ringens) are native North American wildflowers that thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. The 1 ½-inch flowers have an upper petal with two lobes and a lower petal with three lobes. The blossoms are often spotted and multicolored, and the overall appearance resembles a monkey’s face. Taking care of monkey flowers is easy as long as they get plenty of moisture. They thrive in full sun or partial shade.

In addition, the monkey flower plant is an important larval host for Baltimore and Common Buckeye butterflies. These lovely butterflies lay their eggs on the foliage, which provides an immediate food source once the caterpillars hatch.

How to Grow Monkey Flower

If you want to start your seeds indoors, plant them about 10 weeks before the last spring frost and place them in clear plastic bags in the refrigerator to chill. Outdoors, plant them in late winter and let cold winter temperatures chill the seeds for you. The seeds need light to germinate, so don’t cover them with soil.

When you bring the seed trays out of the refrigerator, place them in a location with temperatures between 70 and 75 F. (21-24 C.) and provide plenty of bright light. Remove the seed trays from the bag as soon as the seeds germinate.

Space monkey flower plants according to the size of the plant. Space the small varieties 6 to 8 inches apart, medium-sized types 12 to 24 inches apart, and large types 24 to 36 inches apart.

Growing monkey flower in hot climates is a challenge. If you want to give it a try, plant it in a location that is shaded most of the afternoon.

Care of Monkey Flowers

Monkey flower plant care is actually quite minimal. Keep the soil moist at all times. A 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch will help prevent moisture evaporation. This is especially important in warmer regions.

Pick off the faded blossoms to encourage a fresh flush of flowers.

In terms of how to grow monkey flower and care for it once established, that’s all there is to it!

The first time I took a look at one of these flowers I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. It seems like Mother Nature like to work in mysterious ways, and more often than not, sometimes succulents and species of orchids tend to look like shapes of other animals or things you could find in nature. And in the case of this particular orchid flower, it was a monkey’s face. More specifically known as the monkey face orchid.

What is a Monkey Face Orchid?

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Scientifically speaking, the Dracula simia is a rare orchid which is native to the tropical cloud forests of Southeastern Ecuador and Peru and likes to live in elevations above 2,000 feet. And the best part might be the ripe orange scent it gives out when it blooms.

There are over 110 varieties of the genus Draculas and each of the orchid plants features the same characteristic monkey-faced flower centers.

How To Buy a Monkey Orchid

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A post shared by @ yazk.01 on Mar 16, 2019 at 3:29am PDT

A quick Google search and tons of sites (including Amazon and eBay) will pop up listing monkey face orchid seeds for sale for only a few dollars. However, if you’ve ever taken care of any orchid species before, starting them from seed is almost impossible. The New York Botanical Garden shares that the flowers seeds of the monkey orchid are so small, they are almost like dust. The flower seeds also require specialized techniques and a particular climate to thrive successfully.

Because of this, most seeds you see online are scams (this includes moth orchid seeds, flying duck orchid seeds, and even white egret orchid seeds) and will not bloom into the plants you are expecting.

Our advice: Take a trip to your local botanical garden to take a look at these beautiful plants, or better yet, book a trip to South America and stumble upon the plant in the wild.

Watch: Who Said Succulents Are Boring? 3 Types That Don’t Look Like Plants at All

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Mimulus Seeds – Mimulus Monkey Flower Seed Orange

Flower Specifications

Season: Annual

USDA Zones: 3 – 10

Height: 6 – 8 inches

Bloom Season: Summer and fall

Bloom Color: Orange

Environment: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Moist, pH 5.6 – 7.5

Planting Directions

Temperature: 68 – 72F

Average Germ Time: 7 – 14 days

Light Required: Yes

Depth: Do not cover the seed but press into the soil

Sowing Rate: 2 – 3 seeds per plant

Moisture: Keep seed moist until germination

Plant Spacing: 6 – 8 inches

Care & Maintenance: Mimulus

Mimulus (Mimulus Hybridus F2 Twinkle Orange) – This little gem will bloom its heart out for you! Grown from Mimulus seeds, this annual is a small shrub-like flower that only grows 6 – 8 inches in height and a little wider. The orange funnel-shaped flowers have two lips – the top lip is split once and the bottom lip is split twice resulting in five frilly petal lobes. Mimulus is also known as Monkey Flower because the flower resembles the face of a monkey. Monkey Flower care includes deadheading the spent blooms to prolong the bloom season. Mimulus Monkey Flower will self-seed, and it often will come back the next year from the Mimulus flower seed that it drops. These wonderful flowers bloom early to late summer. Mimulus does best in sun or light shade, it does not like to dry out, and it performs best with an application of a balanced fertilizer.

Grow Mimulus seeds indoors 6 – 8 weeks before the end of frost season. Press the flower seeds into the soil but do not cover. Transplant Monkey Flower seedlings outdoors after danger of frost has passed 6 – 8 inches apart. From Mimulus flower seed to blooming plants in 8 – 10 weeks.

How to Grow Mimulus Plants

Guide to Growing Monkey Flower, Muskflower, and Monkey Musk

Although members of Mimulus are half hardy or hardy perennials they are usually grown as half hardy annuals in the garden.

They range in height from 5 to 90 cm and carry tubular freckled flowers of orange, red, yellow and pink.

Their size makes them ideal for growing in the rock garden or for use in a garden border.

Some common names for members of Mimulus include Monkey Musk, Monkey flower and Musk.

Mimulus nanus – Dwarf Purple Monkey-flower by Matt Lavin; creative commons.

Mimulus cardinalis – Cardinal Monkey flower by Marlin Harm.

Mimulus Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Monkey Flower, Muskflower. Monkey Flower: Sticky; Purple; Cardinal Pink; Hard wooded; Congdons; Scarlet; Bolanders; Roundleaf; Slenderstalk; Cutleaf.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial. Perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 0.4 to 36 inches (2 to 90 cm).
Native: North America, Eastern Asia, Australasia, Southern Africa.
Growing Region: Annuals: zones 3 to 10. Perennials: zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Spring, summer and/or autumn.
Flower Details: Yellow, magenta, purple, orange, red, pink. Snapdragon-like. Tubular. Lipped. Musky fragrance.
Foliage: Oval. Lanceolate. Sometimes slimy. Sometimes toothed. Downy.
Sow Outside: Surface. Towards the end of winter. Spacing 2 to 36 inches (5 to 90 cm).
Sow Inside: Mix seeds in a growing medium, place in a freezer bag, keep moist, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Germination time: one to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Two or three months before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Soil pH 5.5 to 7. Rich soil. Moist soil. Winter mulch. Regular watering to keep soil moist. Deadhead. Propagate: cuttings in the spring.

How to Grow Monkey Musk and other Mimulus in the Garden

When growing monkey musk and other Mimulus outdoors from seed they should be sown on the surface towards the end of winter. Musk likes to grow in sunny areas of the garden, though in very hot area they prefer partially shaded areas in the afternoon. The soil that Monkey Musk grows in should be moist and rich with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (6 to 7).

If starting Musk species indoors then the process should be done about two to three months in advance. The seeds should be imbibed by placing the seeds (within soil) in a plastic bag, then placing in the fridge for three weeks. Seeds should then be sown out into the light at a temperature of 21 to 25 Celsius; they normally take from one to three weeks to germinate. Musk seedlings should be transplanted following the last frost of spring at a spacing of 15 cm (small Mimulus species) to 30 to 90 cm (larger varieties).

Caring for Mimulus Plants

Once growing Monkey Musk and other Mimulus are easy to look after, they require to be watered regular to ensure that the soil is moist at all times. The flowers should be dead headed before they have chance to set seed. In the winter it is best to apply mulch to protect the plants if growing as a hardy perennial. If you require more plants then Musk can be propagated by dividing in the springtime.

Monkey flower, Mimulus (MIM-yoo-luss) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower.

The genus Mimulus was formerly part of the family Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family) before joining the family Phrymaceae (Lopseed family).

Some list the genus as Diplacus. Various species of the plant are native to many different parts of South and North America.

Mimulus grows naturally in a variety of settings.

For example, Mimulus ringens (RIN-jens) which is native to Missouri grows naturally in areas with plentiful, consistent water, such as:

  • Low woods
  • Swamps
  • Wet meadows
  • and along the sides of streams and ponds.

NOTE: Mimulus guttatus Yellow monkey flower is another species enjoying low lying wet areas.

Mimulus aurantiacus (aw-ran-ti-AYE-kus) is native to the West Coast from Oregon, California, and south to Mexico where it grows naturally in sandy, rocky soil on slopes, cliffs, and hillsides.

It pops up in areas where the soil has recently been disturbed.

You’ll find this California native growing naturally forests of pine, Redwood and mixed evergreens.

It also does well mixed in with coastal scrub, chaparral and in desert settings.

Common names for the various species include:

  • Square Stemmed Monkey Flower
  • Allegheny Monkey Flower
  • Shrubby Monkey Flower
  • Sticky Monkey Flower
  • Bush Monkey Flower
  • Monkey Flower

These plants are all referred to as monkey flowers because the blossoms are said to resemble a smiling monkey face.

The plant’s genus name, Mimulus, is derived from the Latin word, ‘mimus’, which means mimic.

This is a reference to the bloom’s resemblance to a monkey’s face.

Mimulus Care

Size & Growth

Mimulus typically grow to heights ranging from 1′ foot to 3′ feet with a spread of about 1′ foot.

In exceptionally ideal circumstances, the plant may grow to be 4′ feet high.

The 2″ to 4″ inch long sharp-toothed, lance-shaped leaves grow in opposing pairs along the stems.

Leaves are sticky on the top and somewhat furry.

Flowering & Fragrance

Yellow flowers are the most common but monkey flowers come in many colors depending upon the species and the part of the country where the plant grows.

Blooms range in color from:

  • Red
  • Lilac
  • White
  • Orange
  • Deep Purple

Flowers display a larger swollen lower lip with 3 lobes and a smaller upper corolla lip with 2 lobes.

Bloom time typically runs from June through September.

The flowering stems grow vertically and the flowers are similar in appearance to snapdragons.

The opposite leaves grow in pairs along the leaf axils on slender pedicels one or two inches long.

Light & Temperature

These plants do well in partial shade to full sun settings depending upon the specific species grown.

As native plants, they do well at the temperature typical in spring and summer for the area where the species naturally occurs.

Watering & Feeding

As wildflowers, these plants typically do well with a watering regimen that mimics the natural rainfall or water availability of the local area.

Species which grow naturally in muddy settings must be kept consistently moist.

Those who thrive in open meadows or desert settings will do better with deep, occasional watering.

These native plants need no fertilizer as long as they are growing in good soil.

Soil & Transplanting

Ideal soil qualities vary from one species of Mimulus to another.

Those who thrive in dry or desert settings need well-draining, sandy, airy soil.

Those thriving in boggy settings need a moisture holding soil mixture.

One containing peat moss and/or organic compost is ideal.

Grooming & Maintenance

Mimulus require no special grooming!

How To Propagate Mimulus Flower

In ideal growing conditions, the plant will naturalize easily and spread through creeping rhizomes and self-seeding.

Mimulus Main Pest or Disease Problems

This native plant is fairly impervious to disease and insect problems. These plants are deer resistant.

Are MonkeyFlowers Considered Toxic or Poisonous?

There appears to be no listing for any species of Mimulus in the FDA Poisonous Plant List Database.

Is The Monkeyflower Plant Considered Invasive?

Because many species of Mimulus are native throughout Canada and the United States, the plant cannot be considered invasive.

Mimulus or Diplacus aurantiacus is an important host plant for the larvae of the Baltimore and common buckeye butterfly.

Suggested Mimulus Uses

To determine the best use of the Monkey Flower native to your area, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the type of soil and setting found where it naturally grows.

Plants best suited to a boggy, swampland setting will be your best choice for low-lying areas or the margins of ponds and streams.

Those native to a dry, desert-like setting will be your best choice for naturalizing in open, airy meadows or for use in xeriscaping, in a rock garden, window boxes, baskets and garden borders.

These Orchids Look Just Like a Monkey’s Face

The Launceston Orchid Society

You don’t have to hear much more than the name to know that the monkey orchid is a downright cute flower.

Native to the tropical highland forests of Southeastern Ecuador, the Dracula simia-which translates to “little dragon monkey”-thrives at altitudes around 2,000 meters. Be prepared for a hike to see these quirky plants in their natural environment.

YOU’LL LOVE: These Orchids That Look Like White Egrets in Flight Image zoom Columbus GV Team via Flickr

What really captures our hearts about these little buddies are their long faces, formed by a handful of long petals. While the center of the flower may be a dead ringer for our ancestral cousins, the name is a shout-out to the two long sepals (the part of a flower that encloses the developing bud) located at the base of the petals. Even better than its name or appearance might be the scent that is emitted from the monkey orchid. When this particular species of orchid blooms, it gives off a scent of ripe oranges. The best part? They can bloom during any season, at any time.

There are more than 110 varieties within the Dracula genus-Dracula amaliae and Dracula gigas being two of our other favorites-each a different color and shape, but all with that same monkey face.

A quick eBay search shows that you can buy Dracula simia seeds-one of the listings even calls them “Dracula Cute Simia” seeds (understandably). But there’s a reason why they only grow naturally in the tropical forests of South America; make sure you’ve prepared a cool, dark environment for these orchids to bloom. And if you’re lacking a green thumb, give your go-to cute animal videos a rest and check out the different types of monkey orchids the next time you need a mental break.

The blossom of a flower, as a reproductive organ, evolved with one primary purpose in mind to attract pollinators like insects or birds. This function has driven their astounding evolutionary explosion of distinct types of flowers with bright colors and extraordinary shapes, some of which have even come to resemble various figures, plants or animals.

And though there are thousands of different flowers and cool plants, orchids somehow manage to steal the show every time. The colors of these flamboyant orchid types attract insects and birds, signaling that these flowers are full of tasty nectar. Their shapes, on the other hand, often evolve to attract or accommodate specific pollinators while dissuading parasites or other, less desirable pollinators. Some of these rare flowers are more welcoming to bees, while others are perfect for hummingbirds or different insects.

Their stunning colors and biodiversity have attracted another type of creature as well – us. Orchid lovers value flowers like these for their resemblance to other recognizable objects which, while coincidental, is still definitely entertaining!

Scroll down to check the stunning flower images; our collection ranges from the Monkeyface orchid to the White Egret and some non-Orchid plants that look like Dart Vader and human skulls.

Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula Simia)




Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Image credits: Christian Kneidinger

Image credits: José Roberto Rodrigues Araújo


Naked Man Orchid (Orchis Italica)

Image credits: Ana Retamero



Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria Elata)

Image credits: unknown

Dancing Girls (Impatiens Bequaertii)

Image credits: unknown

Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid (Ophrys bomybliflora)




Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora)

Image credits: unknown

Parrot Flower (Impatiens Psittacina)

Image credits: unknown


Image credits: Bruce Kekule

Snap Dragon Seed Pod (Antirrhinum)

Image credits: unknown

Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana Major)

Image credits: Michael Prideaux

Image credits: Robert Andrew Price

Orchid That Looks Like A Tiger


Happy Alien (Calceolaria Uniflora)

Image credits: Butterfly voyages

Image credits: Julio Martinich

Angel Orchid (Habenaria Grandifloriformis)



Dove Orchid Or Holy Ghost Orchid (Peristeria Elata)

Image credits: Saji Antony

Image credits: Reji

Image credits: M.a.h.S

Orchid That Looks Like A Ballerina

Image credits: Tere Montero

White Egret Orchid (Habenaria Radiata)

Image credits: Rachel Scott-Renouf


Image credits: Torisan3500

Darth Vader (Aristolochia Salvadorensis)


Image credits: unknown


P.S. We always try our best to credit each and every photographer, but sometimes it’s impossible to track some of them. Please contact us if you know the missing authors.

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