During the 19th century, orchids were widely collected. With nearly 25,000 varieties, some orchids are among the most exquisite and expensive flowers in the world. In antiquity, orchids were correlated with love and fertility. It was common knowledge that they would protect against diseases. Given as a gift they stand for preciousness and seduction.
The year-round hot and humid climate of Southwestern Sri Lanka makes the ideal climate for growing some varieties of orchids, while they dry and cool climates of the central highlands make other varieties thrive, thus making the whole island, except perhaps the dry north eastern sector, one large nursery for many varieties of this exotic bloom.
Today orchids are a important foreign exchange earner for the island. Originally started as a hobby by the