Vanilla comes from a beautiful plant called the mexican orchid.
This orchid is not grown for its beautiful, greenish-yellow flower. Few people give a hoot how pretty it is. This plant is grown because of the pod that appears after the flower dies.
These pods taste so good, we put them in ice cream, cakes, and puddings and call them vanilla beans. One Mexican orchid plant produces as many as forty or fifty vanilla beans each year.
The Mexican orchid is a vine that grows to six or eight feet and clings to the bark of a tree. Today, most vanilla beans are imported from Mexico, islands in the Indian Ocean, and Tahiti.
Next time you have a vanilla shake, think about the beautiful flower that helped make it possible.