32 Most Exotic Orchid Varieties and Types

Orchids or Orchidaceae are basically flowering plants that have distinct monosymmetrical characteristics, they grow flowers that reflect each other in terms of size. With their exquisite and spectacular blooms, exotic orchid varieties can easily make everyone fall in love with their beauty. Even some of them can also emit scents that add to their captivating characteristics.

There are different varieties of orchids that you can grow. And here, you will discover exotic orchids varieties that you can choose to fill the void space in your home.

From the rarest orchids that are almost extinct, animal-like blooms, to the terrestrial orchids, all those exotic orchids have their own uniqueness you may never see before.

Some orchids can grow on trees (epiphytes), and some thrive on soil (terrestrial). The epiphytes are usually grown in transparent pots, so the roots can absorb sunlight exposure since they grow on the side of the tree in nature. Meanwhile, the terrestrial plants tend to expand on the ground, while some scarce plants bloom underground.

Furthermore, most of them favor bright light but not direct sunlight since it can harm the flowers. Suppose you are a gardener or merely someone who has a particular interest in orchids. In that case, this list will indeed become a starting point to further step into the exotic orchid varieties world.

What Makes Exotic Orchids Unique?

Exotic orchids are unique for their diversity incredible and stunning beauty. With thousands of species and countless hybrids, each orchid variety has its own unique different including, characteristics flower shapes, colors, sizes, and blooming habits.

Some orchids have flowers that last for months, while others bloom only briefly. Some have fragrant flowers, while others are unscented. This incredible diversity makes each orchid variety a unique and fascinating addition to any plant collection.

Most Endangered Exotic Orchid Varieties

Speaking about orchids, it is incomplete without noticing their rarest types. The rare orchid family has unusual shapes and distinctive color pallets. Many exotic orchid varieties lovers hunt them for fun since they are pretty hard to find.

Unfortunately, some rare orchids are nearly extinct, with few are still grow naturally in the wild. 

1. Zeuxine rolfiana

Zeuxine rolfiana
Source: Efloraofindia (@efloraofindia)

With only around 18 found, Zeuxine rolfiana marks itself as the rarest and critically endangered orchid in the world. It was first found in Mount Harriet, South Andaman Island, India. Moreover, this species has petite white flowers hanging down from the blooms and belongs to the type of deciduous terrestrial orchids (ground growing).

2. Hawaii Bog Orchid

Hawaii Bog Orchid (Peristylus holochila)
Source: goorchids.northamericanorchidcenter (@hank oppenheimer)

Like Zeuxine rolfiana, Hawaii Bog Orchid is also a critically endangered exotic orchid species, with approximately 28 to 33 found in the wild throughout three different Hawaiian islands.

Unlike other orchids varieties with vibrant colors, this species is characterized by its yellowish-green petals with bright green egg-shaped leaves. It also belongs to the terrestrial types, just like the previous species.

3. Vietnamese Paphiopedilum

exotic orchid varieties
Source: Pinterest (@flickr.com)

It is being said that this rare orchid species may have extinct in the wild. However, thanks to the orchids collectors, we still can witness Vietnamese Paphiopedilum beauty flowers. This species blooms stunning flowers with a beautiful gradation of pinkish-white and magenta on the sepals with a yellow touch in the stigma. 

4. Western Underground Orchid

Western Underground Orchid
Source: Pinterest (@es.wikipedia.org)

As weird as it looks, this species is one of the world’s rarest and most unique exotic orchid varieties. It magically grows underground without doing any photosynthesis as it absorbs the nutrients from the fungi around them.

Furthermore, speaking about appearance, Western Underground Orchid has only a pink bloom with a darker shade on the edges and its sepals protecting the reddish stigma – no leaves. 

5. Fairrie’s Paphiopedilum

exotic orchid varieties
Fairrie’s Paphiopedilum (Paphiopedilum Fairrieanum)

The striking purple shade with white stripe and Lady’s slipper shape is a distinct attribute of this rare species. Thanks to these attractive appeals, Fairrie’s Paphiopedilum is now famous as one of the favorite orchids with a high cultivated rate. However, the Fairrie’s is massively collected in the wild, making it hard to find in its natural habitat.

6. Sang’s Paphiopedilum

exotic orchid varieties
Source: Pinterest (@Nani Permana)

Paphiopedilum sangii is one of the rarest orchids that is only native to mountainous forests in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The appearance is similar to the Fairrie’s, yet with lighter purple and green-yellow touches at the base of the petals. In addition, tiny hairs can be seen covering the entire stem and the edges of the flowers.

7. Liem’s Paphiopedilum

exotic orchid varieties
 Liem’s Paphiopedilum (Paphiopedilum Liemianum)

Liem’s Paphiopedilum lip is very similar to Lady’s slipper that features a purple shade with a creamy hint at the edges of the blooms. Its small flowers look like a bird flapping its wings, creating a stunning look. Unfortunately, this North Sumatera plant is still widely traded despite being scarce.

8. Hochstetter’s Butterfly Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Hochstetter’s Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera Azorica)

No wonder Platanthera azorica is considered Europe’s rarest orchid knowing the habitat is secluded in Azorean Island, Portugal. Slightly similar to Peristylus holochila, it highlights bright green flowers with yellow hints on the blooms. Moreover, the blooms closely mimic butterfly wings, adding an exciting sight to its appeal.

9. Ballerina Orchid

Ballerina Orchid (Caladenia melanema) (2)
Source: Pinterest (@etsy)

Instead of its scientific name, this scarce native Australian plant is well-known as Ballerina Orchid. It is identified by the spider-like flowers with a single elevated green leaf, creating the beauty of dancing Ballerina. Moreover, the flowers have cream with maroon markings and bloom in late winter.

Exotic Orchid Varieties That Look Like Animals

Even though orchids are flowering plants, some have odd shapes that resemble animals. The appearance actually makes them look beautiful and different from other species. Plus, they have an incredibly striking color combination that indeed steals everyone’s attention.

Without any further ado, let’s check them out!

10. Monkey Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Monkey Orchid (Orchis simia)

This weird-looking orchid indeed resembles a hanging monkey. Thanks to its four petals that curled up and lengthened like monkey legs.

Furthermore, you cannot just resist the astonishing bright purple colors on the “hands” and “legs” that make these flowers look surreal!

11. Flying Duck Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major)

It seems like the sepals are well-coordinated to create an eye-catching shape of a flying duck. You can also notice a great aligned duck beak marked with yellow on this Australian-native flower. Moreover, the terrestrial plant features a purple ‘duck’s body’ with petals that slightly curl outward to form the wings, while the head is constructed of curved blooms.

12. Fly Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera)

Just like its name, this exotic orchid looks precisely like a fly perched on green blooms. The insect figure has red to brown colors formed from folded hairy petals. A silver mark is also seen in the center of the “body,” which seems like a pair of wings.

13. White Egret Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
White Egret Orchid (Habenaria radiata)

This terrestrial plant has the most effortlessly charming look among all exotic orchids, with only the white shade to the sepals. They also form beautiful tassels that turn them into the breath-taking wings of a flapping White Egret. Sadly, it is one of those rarest orchids that experience a rapid decline.

14. Clamshell Orchid

Green Squid/Clamshell Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata)
Green Squid/Clamshell Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata)

Its shape, which is similar to an opening clamshell, is the main characteristic of this Central America-native plant. The beautiful flowers perfectly bloom, showing purple stripes with a green brush as the background color. Other than that, the Clamshell orchids are a plant that favors low light and are listed among epiphytic orchids.

15. Pink Moth Orchid

 Pink Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)
 Pink Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)

Of all the exotic orchids, the bright pink bloom is all you can notice when looking at the Pink Moth Orchid plant. There is a picture of a moth protecting the nectar in the center of the flower that makes an attractive appeal. Moreover, this moth orchid is one of the epiphytic orchids that easily hang on trees in your garden or just put it north-facing windowsill to avoid direct sunlight.

16. Donkey Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
 Donkey Orchid (Diuris)

Yellow flowers with crimson strokes are the key features of this flowering plant. The sepals are perfectly seated on the tips, creating a couple of “Donkey ears” that turn into a beautiful addition to its appearance. Moreover, Diuris usually blooms from early autumn to early winter; thus, it prefers a cooler site to grow. 

17. Owl Orchid (Miltoniopsis ‘Lila Fearneyhough’)

Owl Orchid (Miltoniopsis ‘Lila Fearneyhough’)
Source: Pinterest (@Master Of The Universe)

Miltoniopsos, a native South American plant, is known for its exquisite magenta strokes on the white blooms of round owl eyes. The stigma has a yellow color that mimics an owl’s beak with a brown splash on its lip. Moreover, the flowers bloom in spring and are dormant in the summer.

18. Bee Orchid

 Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)
 Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

It is one of many orchids that feature bloom resembling insects. Ophrys apifera lip brown looks like a body bee with two narrow folded sepals as the wings, adding to its beauty. Unlike most, this exotic plant can grow during winter and favor bright light, but not direct light.

19. Goat Orchid

Goat Orchid (Diuris venosa)
Source: flickr (@Will Brown)

The beauty of Diuris venosa terletak pada blooms yang membentuk seperti goat. Its tall stem stands tall with a pair of elongated white-lilac sepals for the ears, while the broad lip and the hood turn into the goat’s head. It also has green grass-like foliage that erects from the base of the plant.

20. White Phalaenopsis Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
 White Phalaenopsis Orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis)

Known as Anggrek Bulan in Indonesia and Moth Orchid in India, this exotic plant has a leopard-like pattern, especially on the lips. It is one of the epiphytic orchids, meaning that the roots attach to trees where they can absorb light exposure. Like many orchids, it is better to have good air movement to keep the pots dry.

21. The Dove Orchid

The Dove Orchid (Peristeria elata)
The Dove Orchid (Peristeria elata)

Another bird-looking orchid that will amaze you just by looking at it. A petite dove is hiding inside the sepals, bearing two wings with violet brushes on the tip that looks absolutely gorgeous. Moreover, this epiphytes plant grows in the tropics, specifically in Central America, South America, and India, where the climate is pretty humid. 

Rare & Unique Exotic Orchid Varieties

Looking for some rare and unique shapes orchids to shop? Then you have just found them! Below are some exotic orchid varieties resembling landscapes, objects, and ghosts with colorful shades that will blow your mind.

Despite most are growing in summer, some may also thrive in winter. They will indeed be perfect to hang on trees in your garden while exposing their dashing roots.

22. Gold of Kinabalu Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Gold of Kinabalu Orchid (Paphiopedilum rothschildianum)

There is no doubt that this flower is named the Gold of Kinabalu since it indeed shows off its stunning gold color with black stripes on its blooms. It also bears a yellowish pouch-like lip and two long-dangled pinstripe sepals. This rare and expensive flower grows in the tropics, yet it favors low light to develop optimally.

23. Ghost Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Source: flickr (@RF CA)

Judging from the name, you may be able to guess what the flower looks like. This bizarre species highlights white color all over the blooms with a floating position similar to Casper, an animated ghost character, thanks to its tall stems. In addition, the Ghost orchid is one of the epiphytic orchids growing on the rough bark of oak and ash trees.

24. Stealth Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Source: flickr (@ChiThien2012)

Slightly different from most, Paphiopedilum stealth is black with tiny hairs covering its long sepals. Nonetheless, the hood of this venus slipper genus still has white-deep purplish on the edges.

Furthermore, this flower results from a hybrid between Paphiopedilum Hsinying Maru and Paphiopedilum rothschildianum. Stealth that produces a unique yet a bit creepy look.

25. Western Prairie Fringed Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Source: flickr (@Larry Reis)

Seeing from a bird-eye view, you can tell that this one is similar to White Egret Orchid. Beautiful white tassel-shaped sepals create a dramatic look of the birds’ wings and tails. In addition, the hood is also exquisite, which seems to be a space for birds to take shelter from the sun.

26. Blue Disa

Blue Disa (Disa graminifolia)
Source: flickr (@0rchidhunter)

When you look at this bloom, you may be stunned by its striking blue shade, especially the very prominent tip. The hood seems to be painted with a mixture of white to create a beautiful gradation with a touch of green. Although it is exotic, you can shop Blue Disa in the form of seeds or flowers. It will indeed be such beauty for your garden.

27. Skyblue Sun Orchid

Skyblue Sun Orchid (Thelymitra jonesii)
Source: Pinterest (@Elena Chevalier)

Having six sepals of the same size makes the Sky Blue orchid looks like the sun. The uniqueness of this flower, which is endemic to Tasmania, lies in its azure blue color with darker stripes on its veins that attract attention. Furthermore, an erect green leaf accompanying these mini flowers adds to its beauty.

28. Devil Orchid (Telipogon diabolicus)

Devil Orchid (Telipogon diabolicus)
Source: Pinterest (@phys.org)

If you search for a weird orchid, then you have found one. This new species will give you goosebumps once you see it, thanks to its eerie devil head with perfectly formed horns from gynostemium. It also features dark crimson color and a “screaming-looking face” that surely gives you long-lasting creeps.

29. Dragon’s Mouth Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Dragon’s Mouth Orchid (Arethusa bulbosa)

Arethusa bulbosa or Dragon’s Mouth Orchid grows bright pink to magenta bloom atop green grass-like stems and slowly form colonies. The lip also bears distinct patterns, with yellow in the middle as its unique characteristics. In addition, it grows best in acidic soil with good light exposure.

30. Queen’s Lady’s Slipper Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Queen’s Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium reginae)

The Queen’s Lady’s Slipper looks like a venus slipper orchid. They have unique lips forming a slipper, only this one has spectacular pink with white brush blooms. Meanwhile, its white sepals bloom like ribbons as a “slipper” accessory, making the orchid looks exceptionally stunning.

31. Swaddled Babies Orchid

exotic orchid varieties
Swaddled Babies Orchid (Anguloa uniflora)

If you look closely, these blooms look exactly like babies being swaddled. The interior yellow center part of the flower forms the baby’s head as if wearing a hat. At the same time, the sepals function to wrap the baby like a blanket. As it is found in South America, it favors a high humidity environment since it can simulate the growing conditions in nature.

32. Dracula Orchid

Dracula Orchid (Dracula vampira)
Dracula Orchid (Dracula vampira)

As scary as it looks, Dracula vampira has the appearance of a vampire cloak, featuring black color on all its blooms with a touch of yellow in the mid. In addition, the shape of the sepals that are a bit long dangling adds a bold statement to its spookiness. Moreover, just like a fictional vampire, Dracula orchid loves cool temperatures, so it may thrive in winter.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are exotic orchids?

You may be familiar with Cattleya orchids, but there are more exotic orchid varieties you can explore. Exotic orchids are those having distinct patterns, shapes, and broad color palettes that characterize this group. For instance, flying duck orchid, lady’s slipper orchid, fairrie’s paphiopedilum, and more.

What is the rarest orchid in the world?

The rarest orchid in the world is Zeuxine rolfiana. The flowering plant now only has 18 pieces worldwide, thus it is listed under critically in danger plants. It was first found in Mount Harriet, South Andaman Island, India.

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