Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vanilla, the Expensive Spice

My Vanilla vine, which is growing over the guava tree , is flowering now. It flowers every year, but the flowers are not fertilized because its special pollinators, the hummingbirds are not here. Farmers who grow vanilla hand- pollinate them, but I have not been successful in that.
The vanilla is an orchid. The light green flowers open in the morning for a short time. Unlike some orchids, these flowers are not long lasting. The name Vanilla came from the Spanish "Vainilla" meaning sheath. Next to Saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice.It was known to the Aztecs.The leaves of the Vanilla vine are thick and leathery.

I love Vanilla ice cream, and hope to make it some day with my home grown vanilla pods.


  1. The Vanilla orchid is beautiful. I hope you get it to bear the pods. I think there is also some work involved in curing the pods for use. I have found a place in Madagascar they send them in bundles. As thicker the pods as more expensive. I share them with my daughters.

  2. Vanilla for me was always an essence marketed in a small glass bottle. Thanks for introducing me to its real identity. I hope you are able to pollinate it in future and make your own vanilla!

  3. Hand pollinating with a very fine artists brush might work . You are so lucky to be able to grow it. There is one here at the Botanic Gardens in the glasshouse. Ian

  4. Titania, yes, there is some work done in curing the pods.If I get one pod at least...
    Green Thumb, I hope this time I might be lucky.
    Ian, I have tried the artist'd brush early in the morning without success. I am trying it now again. So far no success.

  5. My mother gave me two plants and I killed them with neglect. I don't have the heart to ask her for another. The problem is that I couldn't find a suitable place for it. I was told they need a shady spot and somewhere to run. I saw them planted at Disney in hanging baskets and running on a trellis in shade. Keep trying with a long thin paintbrush you may get a surprise.

  6. Hello Lotusleef, it´s so good knowing for the first time a Vanila flower, and yes it is like an Orchid, how wonderful!!!!
    And the owl in the other post is, oh my go, so, so sweet!!!
    María Cecilia

  7. What a beautiful flower! Does it smell as good as the spice does?

  8. I haven't seen vanilla growing in Assam. The blooms are beautiful! I hope you're successful in pollinating the blooms!