Naked Man Orchid (Orchis Italica) – Definition, History, Growing, Caring & Everything!

Orchid is one of the most beautiful and demandable flowers in this world. There exist a lot of different kinds of orchids and these variations make these flowers more appealing to the people. But have you ever heard of naked man orchid?

naked man orchid


It is totally alright if you have not as a lot of people do not know about this flower yet. Even if you have heard about this flower you may not have a complete idea about this flower.

So, here in this article we would like to introduce you with every information related to naked man orchids. So, if you want to know more please read through the whole article.

Italian Orchids

The other name of naked man orchid is mostly Italian orchids or Orchis italica. This species of orchid is normally native to the Mediterranean Basin.

Besides, They are also common in many parts of Europe. Some cities in Turkey also see the blooming of these flowers. These orchids belong to the family Orchidaceae.

Naked Man Orchid Flowers

Naked man orchid has either of two related species of orchids which got their name for the humanlike shape of their flowers. The common man orchid is Orchis anthropophora.

They were formerly known as Aceras anthropophorum. The flower is native to grasslands of Great Britain, Eurasia, and northern Africa. The flower spikes are about 10 to 45 cm tall. These flowers may bear up to 90 greenish or yellowish flowers.

The flowers have an unpleasant odour in general. The flowers resemble a helmeted man, with the torso and limbs being formed by a lobed central labellum  or a modified petal.

The flower of these orchids is the reason they got a name like this since the flowers actually look like a naked man.

How to Grow Naked Man Orchids

The orchid genus plants such as the naked man orchid can be grown in two ways for example from seeds or roots.

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Naked Man Orchid From Roots

If  you want to grow these from roots, then they should be buried about 8 to 10 cm deep into a slightly acidic soil. The soil needs to be rich and peaty.

Orchids can grow in either sunny or lightly shaded parts of the garden and you should grow spaces about 10 to 15 cm which is 4 to 6 inches apart.

Orchis Italica Seed

If you plan to grow Orchids from the seeds, then it is best to start them off indoors. The seed should be sown on the soil surface.


Orchis Italica Seed

Orchis Italica Seed

After that you should germinate them at 18 to 24 degrees centigrade or 65°F to 77°F in the light. The germination time may vary from three months to just over a year.

Therefore you need to be sure to sow the seeds at any time, but make sure  to only  put the seedlings ,that is young bulbs, let outdoors following the last frost of spring.

Orchid that Looks Like a Man

There exist some orchids that look like human or any limbs or parts of human. Most of the time they have been a part of humor or curiosity to the people.

And this is the reason people call the Italian orchid as the naked man orchids. In some places, it is also common as hanging man orchid.

Because if you take a careful look to the tree you may feel that a man is hanging from a branch of the tree.

Orchis Italica Myth

In Greek folklore Orchis was the child of a fairy and also a satyr.

“Some say it’s a deadly trap to fairies.”

Throughout a commemorative banquet for Bacchus, Orchis committed the sacrilege of trying to rape a priestess, leading to his being torn apart by wild monsters, after that metamorphosing into a slim as well as modest plant.

Theophrastus was the main of the Western authors to claim orchids. It had actually been he who first used the name Orchis medically, echoing the parable of Orchis and also showing the similarity of the double origin bulbs to the male genital areas that got old Orchis in difficulty within the first place.

Greek females thought they could regulate the sex of their unborn youngsters with Orchid roots.

If the daddy ate huge, new roots, the child would certainly be male; if the mommy consumed little tubers, the youngster would be female.

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Medicinal Use in History

In ancient times many people believed that if a plant is in a shape of a body organ, then upon consumption it could provide relief to any problem the consumer may also have in that particular organ.

Therefore, due to its resemblance to the male person, since the times of the Roman Empire this orchid has been used as a treatment for men’s virility problems. Besides, it was also common as an aphrodisiac.

Edible Use

The hanging naked man orchid has a tuberous root which is full of nutrition. The root in question can be dried and then people make it into a flour-like substance, kind of like an arrowroot. This powder or flour is available as Sale.

In England, it is sometimes used as a coffee alternative. However, the most popular edible item from this powder is a drink and it goes by the name  the Turkish Delight.

Because of its use for making Turkish beverages and other desserts and other uses in other countries, the hanging naked man orchid has the “threatened status” in many cases.

Final Thoughts

In brief, to summarize we can say that the naked man orchid is a center of attraction to many people. The name of this flower totally justifies it since the flower of these plants actually look like some hanging naked man. These orchid are common in many parts of the world and it also has a mythological history. Last but not the least, it has edible and medical uses.

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