This large climber occurs naturally in the West Indies and Central
America, but is now cultivated around the world for the vanilla
essence which is extracted from the seed pods. The fleshy leaves are
up to 8 in (20 cm) long and 2 in (5 cm) broad.
The pale yellow inflorescence is about 2 in (5 cm) long and has
several fragrant, short-lived fragrant flowers which open
successively, each about 2 1/2 in (6 cm) long.
The seed pod, the source of vanilla flavoring, is fleshy, turning
black as it ages and exuding a strong odor.
Vanilla planifolia flowers throughout the year.
Cultivation: The plants grow well if potted in a mixture such as
would be used for Cymbidium and need something on which to climb.
They require bright filtered light and regular watering and
The plants do not flower until they have reached a large size.
Propagate from stem cuttings.