Genus: Vanilla

Vanilla consists of about 110 species that most often grow as vines with woody or fleshy stems and aerial roots in the Old and New World tropics as far north as Florida. Species occur in a variety of habitats from seasonal dry, shrub dominated sites to moist, tree-dominated forests. Leaf size is variable from large, dark green and leathery to small and bract-like. The short-lived flowers are generally large, resupinate, and green, white, cream or green-yellow in color, often with a sweet scent. The lip has a funnel shape and with hairs on the inside. The most widely known species in this genus is Vanilla planifolia, whose seed capsules are dried and cured to produce the commercial vanilla flavoring.

North American Species in this Genus