This morning I mentioned to my boyfriend that I needed to think of an orchid to feature, and he said “how about the world’s tallest orchid?” Brilliant! I Googled it and all signs pointed to the Sobralia altissima, a native Peruvian orchid. “Altissimo” means “highest” in Latin. This giant freestanding plant can grow up to 44 feet tall and has purple blooms that are 6 inches across. According to Wikipedia, this orchid’s common name in Quechua (the native Andean language) is “Inquil” or “Inkill”, meaning “bearer of language.” This is due to the wide lip of the large blooms.
I’m having a really hard time finding decent images of this orchid, so apologies for the less-than-stellar pics. I had to start searching Peruvian websites that I can’t really read in order to dig up a few small, crappy photos: