These Orchids Look Just Like a Monkey's Face

And they give off the scent of ripe oranges.

monkey face orchids
Photo: The Launceston Orchid Society

You don't have to hear much more than the name to know that the monkey orchid is a downright cute flower.

Native to the tropical highland forests of Southeastern Ecuador, the Dracula simia-which translates to "little dragon monkey"-thrives at altitudes around 2,000 meters. Be prepared for a hike to see these quirky plants in their natural environment.

Columbus GV Team via Flickr

What really captures our hearts about these little buddies are their long faces, formed by a handful of long petals. While the center of the flower may be a dead ringer for our ancestral cousins, the name is a shout-out to the two long sepals (the part of a flower that encloses the developing bud) located at the base of the petals. Even better than its name or appearance might be the scent that is emitted from the monkey orchid. When this particular species of orchid blooms, it gives off a scent of ripe oranges. The best part? They can bloom during any season, at any time.

There are more than 110 varieties within the Dracula genus-Dracula amaliae and Dracula gigas being two of our other favorites-each a different color and shape, but all with that same monkey face.

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