Practically from the time Victorians began collecting them, the tradition of naming orchids after people began. So the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK began an official registry. They still manage the International Orchid Register, because people are still naming orchids after each other.
There's a Richard Nixon orchid, and a Jacqueline Onassis orchid. There's an Elizabeth Taylor orchid. There are also orchids named after President Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth, Empress Michiko, and the late Princess Diana.
In the 1940’s, a tradition began in the United States in which First Ladies had Cattleya orchids named after them. Chadwick and Sons Orchids has continued the First Lady tradition by naming Cattleya orchids after the four most recent administrations – Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Barbara Bush – and personally presented the flowers to the honored recipients. Other female celebrities to have received their namesake hybrids from Chadwick’s include Martha Stewart, Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher, and Tipper Gore.
And now you can Name Your Own Orchid!
Chadwick’s has hundreds of orchids in production at all times in preparation for celebrity presentations, but a percentage of them are made available to the general public. For $1500, the entire cross of seedlings will be officially registered under any name you choose (pending approval by the Royal Horticultural Society) with a certificate of authenticity.
Up to 20 blooming size specimens will also be provided, each with the new botanical name printed on the label. Pictures of the flowers are made available if the recipient would like to see the orchid ahead of time.
Three genera are available to choose from – Cattleya (Corsage), Paphiopedilum (Lady Slipper), and Phalaenopsis (Moth orchids) and typical colors are whites, pinky/purples, and yellows.
So you or your loved one can become one of the many great people who have beautiful orchids named after them!