If you have been brought here as a result of watching the film Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, we are going to deal with the question that is probably on your mind:
Are blood orchids real?
If you have come here without watching that film, I suggest you avoid it as it isn’t that great!
But please read my article below where we will answer that question.
So let’s get started.
Are Blood Orchids Real?
Yes, blood orchids are real. Caladenia Filifera, more commonly known as the blood spider orchid and Caladenia Concolor, known as the crimson spider orchid, are both native to Australia and both feature blood-red flowers. But Perrinia Imortalis from the film Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid is totally made up!
The film Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid was released in 2004 and centered around a flower called Perrinia Imortalis and known as the Blood Orchid.
I am sorry to tell you but that flower is totally fictional.
A couple of varieties of orchids can legitimately be referred to as blood orchids.
What Are Blood Orchids?
The two varieties of orchids that can stake a claim to be blood orchids are:
- Caladenia Filifera
- Caladenia Concolor
So let’s take a look at them in a bit more detail.
The Caladenia Filifera is more commonly known as the blood spider orchid and is most definitely a real orchid!
The blood spider orchid was first referred to back in 1840 by the English botanist John Lindley.
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Lindley was highly revered and was seen as the top authority on the classification of orchids, naming over 200 species.
It takes its name from the blood-red flowers it bears and its spindly, spider-esque look.
It has a single hairy leaf and up to three flowers and its name derives from the Latin words ‘filium’ which means a thread and ‘fero’ which means to bear or to carry.
The Caladenia genus contains around 350 species of orchids.
Another blood orchid is the Caladenia Concolor.
Commonly known as the crimson spider orchid, this orchid has a dried blood or burnt red color.
Like its sibling Caladenia Filifera, it has a single, hairy, narrow leaf, but this species usually has one or two flowers.
The crimson spider orchid was discovered in 1882, but within 100 years sightings of it were extremely rare.
In 1995 an unnamed naturalist found some growing near his home and alerted the curator of a nearby botanical garden.
As a result, the species was recognized as “unique, fragile and endangered” and listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999.
A series of measures were put into place to protect this orchid, including controlling weeds and rabbits nearby, erecting fences and restricting vehicle access.
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At the time of discovery, only four initial plants were observed, however, there are now thought to be around 80 of the species growing.
In 2014 the Australian Network for Plant Conservation (ANPC) announced the successful germination of the crimson spider orchid in its laboratory.
The propagated crimson spider orchids are now being reintroduced into the wild.
Where Are Blood Orchids Found?
Most caladenias are endemic to Australia and Caladenia Filifera and Caladenia Concolor are no different.
Caladenia Filifera (the blood spider orchid), is found primarily in Western Australia, and in particular the South-West region of the state.
It can be found from Wongan Hills down to Tenterden.
The plant flowers between August and October and grows in well-drained soils in forest and scrubland.
Caladenia Concolor (the crimson spider orchid) grows in and around Victoria and into southern New South Wales.
The plants found by the unnamed botanist were growing on the Nail Can Hill Range just outside of Albury. There are also populations in the Chiltern Forest and Mt Jack.
The Caladenia Concolor flowers in September and October and thrives in well-drained gravelly soil and clay loams.
Perrinia Immortalis and the Film Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
I touched on this above, but one of the reasons the question of whether blood orchids are real or not has arisen in recent years is down to a film.
Okay, it is hardly a Hollywood blockbuster but Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid did gross $70million worldwide.
It was also the sequel to the 1997 film Anaconda which starred some big names, notably Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight and Owen Wilson, and grossed $137million.
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The follow-up film follows a scientific expedition to Borneo to find an elusive flower called Perrinnia immortalis, or the Blood Orchid.
The flower is said to bloom once every seven years, but more importantly, contains the secret to eternal youth.
So as mentioned the Perrinnia immortalis that features in the film is totally made up.
But as detailed above blood orchids do exist, however unfortunately they do not contain the secret to eternal youth!
Yes, blood orchids are real, just not the type you might see in a Hollywood film!
Both Caladenia Filifera and Caladenia Concolor can effectively call themselves blood orchids, especially the former which is more commonly known as the blood spider orchid.
Both are found in Australia and both bear blood-red flowers.
There are also a handful of other species in Australia that are similar, for instance, the bethungra spider orchid and the burrinjuck spider orchid.
Either way, it is safe to say blood orchids exist.