This leafy climbing orchid is from hot, wet tropical America. The flowers are hand pollinated. Propagated generally by cutting.
The vanilla flower is self-fertile, but incapable of self-pollination without the aid of an outside agency to either transfer the pollen from the anther to the stigma or to lift the flap or rostellum then press the anther against the stigma. The only time this can be accomplished is during the morning of the one day the flower is open. Unless pollination occurs, the flower drops from the vine the next day.
In traditional Mexican medicine Vanilla was used to treat hysteria, fevers, impotence, rheumatism, and to increase the energy of muscular systems.1
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