Vanilla planifolia

A Vanilla planifolia vine and flower.  [Taken by Greg Allikas www.orchidworks.com]

It has found its way into your food, drink, toiletries, home fragrances, and I can guarantee, it's wiggled its way into every cookbook you’ve ever laid eyes on.  This plant, although only commercialized just over 150 years ago, has found its way into our homes in more ways than we can imagine. 

And how do we reward it?  We have come use is common name to represent ‘the basic’, ‘the plain’, and ‘the boring’. 

A young girl eating vanilla ice cream. [Taken by Jason Ruud.]
Vanilla planifolia
, and its closely related siblings V. pompona and V. tahititensis are the only species, out of tens of thousands of orchid species, and the only ones out of the 110 species of Vanilla, who produce any product for human consumption or useSo take a look around, there’s plenty you probably never realized that you never knew about Vanilla planifolia.  It's anything but boring!

A Vanilla planifolia flower.  [Taken by Michael Doss.]

Don't know where to start?  Try diving into vanilla's rich History!

           Last Updated:  14 -- April --  2009 | Visit uwlax.edu