Vanilla is an orchid grown commercially for its seed pods or ‘vanilla beans’. The flowers are open only for one day and must be hand-pollinated. The resulting seedpods are harvested green, cured by a sweating process and used for extract and flavoring. 

Wildlife Facts
Common Name:
Vanilla Orchid
Scientific Name:
Vanilla planifolia
Mexico, Central America
  • Yellow
Fun Facts:
  • Vanilla is at risk mostly because of habitat loss and being wild collected for planting in plantations and research for hybridizing with cultivated plants.
  • It is the only orchid that produces an edible fruit.
  • There are no pollinators for the vanilla orchid outside its native origin.
  • All commercial vanilla is hand pollinated.
  • The reason vanilla is so costly is because of the expense of hand pollination.
Plant Type:
  • Evergreen
  • Vine/liana
Endangered Status
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)
Hardiness Zones

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

USDA Hardiness Zones

11a (40 °F to 45 °F)

11b (45 °F to 50 °F)

12a (50 °F to 55 °F)

12b (55 °F to 60 °F)