Orchids are tropical flowers, of which there are now over 35,000 different species, ranging from those with petals no more than one cell thick, to those over 6 inches across. The structure of an orchid is unique, with three petals and three sepals in the center is a cupped petal. Orchids come in white, cream, purple, yellow and red. Perhaps due to the fact that so many orchid varieties exist, some people mistake other flower types for orchids.
Orchid trees grow to 30 feet tall. It's a subtropical to tropical plant that blooms in late winter and early spring. The flowers look like small purple dendrobium orchids.
Anacacho Orchid is a small tree that grows 12 feet tall, with white blossoms resembling tiny orchids. Most lose their leaves for at least a few weeks, even in warmer climates.
The Royal Empress tree grows 60 feet high with large, flat, round leaves and pale pink and purple blooms that resemble phalaenopsis orchids. It's cold tolerant to -5 degrees F, as well as drought-tolerant.
Bulbs, Corms and Tubers
Bearded Iris blooms in early summer and has a sweet scent. The petals are ruffled and look like a cattleyas orchid. Bearded Iris comes in purple, white, yellow and peach.
Japanese Iris look like bigger versions of epidendrum porpax orchids.
Double daylilies in shades of purple resemble cymbidium orchids.
Byzantine gladiolus is an heirloom plant with deep magenta flowers resembling solid color miltonia orchids on a single stalk, blooming in mid-summer. The leaves are sword-shaped.
Wolfei's vine or Nong Nooch Vine have yellow bracts with small white flowers in the center blooming profusely on the tips of the vines. They look like epidendrum orchids. Bracts are leaves that turn color, such as pink, white, purple, or yellow for example. The bracts surround the actual tiny flowers giving the appearance of a colored flower. Poinsettias are a familiar example of bracts with flowers.
Toad lilies grow in shade and boggy soil and don't look anything like a toad or lily but they do look like orchids. Leaves may be bright green, dark green or streaked with white. The flowers are white, pink or purple. Many of the blooms are spotted with a darker color on a white background.