Dracula (Monkey Orchid)

Dracula is a genus of more than 100 species of flowering plants in the family Orchidaceae, native to Central America and part of South America.
The species in this genus are quite diverse, but the most popular are those which resemble monkeys. These unusual, showy flowers are one of the most amazing orchids you’ve ever seen. Mother Nature is so creative!

Name meaning

The scientific name “Dracula”, Latin for “little dragon”, refers to the creepy appearance of the flower.
The long spurs hanging down from the flower look just like vampire fangs.

Some members of this genus (Dracula simia and Dracula gigas) are commonly known as “Monkey Orchids”, but the common name Monkey Orchid is not only restricted to this genus. Other species, such as Calanthe tricarinata and Orchis simia are also known as Monkey Orchids.

Dracula symbolism

The flower represents evil and death, but it can also symbolize power and absolute authority.

Orchids in general are amazing flowers, full of history and symbolism. More information about the history, meaning and symbolism of orchids is available here.

Interesting facts about Dracula

Why do Monkey Orchids Look Like Monkeys?

Orchids produce the most interesting and unique flowers. The Dracula genus is most famous for containing the monkey face species. However, just a few members of the genus (Dracula simia, Dracula gigas, Dracula benedictii and Dracula wallisii) have monkey-like appearance.

The center of the flowers resemble the face of a monkey, and indeed, these unusual looking flowers look just like a monkey. And the most interesting thing is that different flowers provide different expressions of the monkey face.

However, there is no benefit from this false mimicry and there is nothing evolutionary about it.
Monkey Orchids just look weird to humans, as we tend to see faces even when there aren’t any.

Where are Monkey Orchids Found?

As they originate from tropical environments, they require high humidity levels to thrive so they are typically found in high humidity areas.

These plants usually grow at high altitudes, between 1600 and 2500 meters (5250-8200 ft).

Dracula Plant Data