Basic Information

Vanilla is the only fruit bearing orchid. The pods are used and must be prepared in a process that takes months. They are used for many different thing, and often paired with sweet or savory dishes. It is processed into a dry bean form.


Vanilla is native to South and Central America. It is believed to first be used by the Aztecs in their "hot chocolate" drink. After Europe came to America vanilla spread around the world. It grows in a hot climate near the equator.

More Information

Fun Facts

  • Second most expensive spice
  • One of the most labor intensive crops
  • Only one bee can pollinate it, otherwise people do it by hand with a wooden needle
  • Vines can grow 30 to 50 feet tall
  • Only edible fruit from the orchid family
  • Blooms for 24 hours

Medical Uses

  • Composed of vanillin which has added health benefits
  • Good source of vitamin B
  • Small traces of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potasium