Pink lady's slipper

Pink lady's slipper (Dave Harp)

How much do you know about orchids? Test your knowledge with this quiz. Answers are below. 

1. Which of these delicious flavors comes from a plant in the orchid family?

A. Cinnamon

B. Chocolate

C. Nutmeg

D. Vanilla

2. Orchids come in every color, except one. Which color is it?

A. Beige

B. Black

C. Blue

D. Brown

3. Orchids have been around for a long time. Orchid pollen has been found on the bodies of each of the following insects trapped in amber (fossilized tree sap). The oldest of these is estimated to be 45–55 million years old. Which one is it?

A. Fungus gnat

B. Hidden-snout beetle

C. Stingless bee

D. Toe-winged beetle

4. Ancient Greeks believed that eating an orchid’s tuber (an underground stem that produces a new plant) could help parents who wanted their baby to be either female or male. In one case, the father had to eat thick tubers; for the other, the mother ate thin tubers.

Which practice was thought to produce a baby boy?

Which practice was thought to produce a baby girl?

5. Orchid seeds cannot sprout by themselves and need another organism to help supply the needed nutrients. Which organism is this?

A. Dust

B. Beetles

C. Fungi

D. Trees

6. Orchid flowers are “bilateral symmetric.” What does this mean?

A. An orchid can be cut into two equal parts.

B. All orchids have only two petals.

C. Orchids always bloom twice a year.

D. Orchids always grow in pairs.

7. Some wild orchids can only be pollinated by a certain insect species. The petals of these orchids are the color and shape of the female of its pollinating species in order to attract males, which pollinate the plant when they land on the flower. What happens if the insect needed to pollinate the orchid goes instinct?

A. The orchid changes its color and shape to attract a new insect species.

B. The orchid turns into a tuber.

C. The orchid turns poisonous.

D. The orchid goes extinct.



1. Vanilla; 2. Black; 3. Fungus gnat; 4. Thick-boys, Thin-girls; 5. Fungi; 6. An orchid can be cut into two equal parts; 7. The orchid goes instinct.


Kathleen Gaskell is the Bay Journal's copy and layout editor and author of the Chesapeake Challenge. Contact Kathleen at

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