Photograph of a purple orchid
Miltonia or The Talking Flowers

Miltonia or The Talking Flowers

Miltonia? Miltoniopsis? Regardless of the precise taxonomic genus of these orchids, I’m always amazed by the complexity and beauty nature can achieve.

I've covered many events over the years as a photographer for Wikipedia and its associated media library, Wikimedia Commons. The 2010 Pacific Orchid Expo was one of them.

It was the first time that I was taking photos of flowers somewhat seriously. It was a real challenge, and yet the incredible beauty of the flowers made it difficult not to create amazing photographs.

This photo depicts the flower of a plant that was labeled as being from the Miltonia genus, but there is apparently some widespread confusion between this genus and Miltoniopsis, a similar kind of orchid also called the "Pansy orchid" due to its appearance.

I'm by no means an expert in orchids, so I'll leave this to the experts on Wikimedia Commons, like User:Orchi who has been relentlessly categorizing all the photos of orchids uploaded to the site.

The exposition was organized by the San Francisco Orchid Society and took place in Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion. This old military building (converted into an exhibit hall) was filled with orchids of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Entering the huge building felt like walking into a tropical forest. Due to their anthropomorphic allure, these orchids also looked like they had escaped from Wonderland and were ready to start talking to Alice. Some of the talking flowers from the 1951 Disney movie are actually pansies.

I mean, seriously, don't they look like they're just going to start talking?

I mean, seriously, don't they look like they're just going to start talking in a high-pitched voice?

Whether they're Miltonia or Miltoniopsis, they look fantastic, and I sometimes wonder if the beauty and complexity achieved by nature is only rivaled by the desire of Earthlings to identify the species around them, and the care taken for their meticulous classification.