Sunday, February 9, 2014


Last year it was Emerald, but this year Pantone have declared Radiant Orchid to be the colour of 2014. Pantone describe this colour as being "captivating, magical and enigmatic", which I think would also be a good description for the name Orchid.

It's definitely one of the more exotic blooms, which has perhaps made it feel a little too distinctive and elaborate to use as a name. Particularly when it tends to be the more common, cheerful blooms such as Rose, Lily or Daisy that people think of for flower inspired names. Orchid saw some rare use in the U.S in the 20's, 30's and 40's. However since 1997 it has started appearing regularly on the SSA charts, just in very small numbers. This may have been influenced by American group 'Wild Orchid', which featured Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson before she became a member of 'The Black Eyed Peas'. They released their debut single in 1996 and first album in 1997.

The orchid family is one of the two largest families of flowering plants, and includes vanilla. They can be found pretty much everywhere except glaciers. The name comes from the Greek word Orchis, which has neither a flattering meaning or tale behind it. The Greek myth of Orchis tells us that he was the son of a nymph and a satyr who came upon a festival of Dionysus (also known as Bacchus) in the forest. He drank too much and tried to rape a priestess, so was torn apart as punishment. His father prayed for him to be restored but the gods instead changed him into a flower. The word Orchis literally means 'testicles' so named for the shape of their root.

If you can overlook this, take comfort in the fact that orchids are some of the most beautiful, intricate blooms to be found. Cattleya is a particularly pretty South American variety, thought to be the inspiration behind the name Cataleya made popular by Zoe Saldana in the movie 'Colombiana'. Local varieties are the national symbols of Venezuala, Colombia and Singapore; and the Chinese city of Shaoxing. In ancient Greece orchids were associated with fertility and virility, but after the rise of their popularity in Victorian England they became symbolic of luxury and rare and delicate beauty. Purple orchids, such as the ones that inspired the Pantone colour Radiant Orchid, are thought to be the true queen of flowers, symbolising royalty, admiration and respect.

Of their choice of Radiant Orchid, Pantone have said that:

"Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination"

"An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today's society"

"Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm".

Exotic, rare, beautiful, intriguing, captivating, joyful, beguiling and charming. All could be used to describe the name Orchid. A girl with this name would be just as special as this name suggests.


  1. I love orchids, but the "testicles" meaning does bother me, and I also can't get over the ORC sound at the start.

    Cataleya is a hugely trendy name at the moment though, and that is a type of orchid.

  2. I think Orchid is a neat name. Would love to meet someone with this. Orquídea is the Spanish version (or KEY thee ah) and has been used some as a name.
    I had wondered about where Cataleya came from - it seemed to come from nowhwere!
    I personally love the Calanthe names which are a type of orchid. Calanthe, Calanthia, Calantha, Calandra, Calandria. I don't think I forgot any!