These Dove Orchids Have a Surprise Hiding in Their Petals

dove orchids flower look alike

You’ll never guess what they smell like.

Take a closer look, as this flower’s natural mimicry is easy to miss. Hidden inside the bloom of the Peristeria elata, you’ll find a structure that resembles a white dove in flight.

According to the American Orchid Society, these orchids date back to 1831, when they first bloomed in England. Today, they’re mostly found in South America, specifically Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and Brazil.

At peak bloom, the bulb can grow between four and 20 petals, which surround a second, inner petal formation that gives this orchid its name. The orchid is so striking and is located around open, grassy areas, often making them the target of flower-pickers passing through. Unfortunately, this activity has landed this orchid on endangered lists within its natural habitats.

This flower is so sweet, its good looks have landed it a spot at Panama’s national flower. But they don’t just look pretty, they also put off a delicious scent that’s been compared to beer. (Hey, if there’s a market for beer-scented candles, surely someone would be into this hoppy bouquet.) According to “Orchids of Tropical America: An Introduction and Guide,” this vague beer scent is known to appeal to bees, which encourages pollination.

The flowers are mostly white or light yellow in color, usually featuring red or pink spots throughout the petals. But you don’t have to take a trip to see these orchids in person. Unlike the parrot flower, Darth Vader flower, or monkey orchid, you can grow them from the comfort of home. A few tips: They love temperatures between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit with partial shade and should be potted with a 1:1 ratio of leaf mold and peat moss.