Orchids by Peter Arnold
The mysterious orchid has been used and admired since ancient times. Confucius praised the orchid's beauty 2500 years ago, and the ancient Greeks dried its roots for use in medicine. In medieval times, orchids were believed to have magical aphrodisiac qualities, and early herbalists thought orchids were the food of satyrs. Today the tens of thousands of orchid species that have been discovered over the centuries comprise the most varied and highly evolved family of the entire plant kingdom, and new orchid species are still being discovered in the wild.