Botanical name: Vanilla planifolia
Plant Family: Orchidaceae
Part Used: Cured seed pod
Aromatic Notes: Sweet, balsamic
About the Herb:
Vanilla is truly a rare and precious botanical ingredient. Their sweet & inviting ambrosial aroma is a product of meticulous hand pollination in places like Hawai'i (where no native pollinators are present) and a rigorous curing process to enhance & preserve their sought-after properties.
Vanilla orchids grow throughout tropical and subtropical regions around the world, and their flowers must be pollinated during the single day in which they bloom. Each blossom is self-fertile, meaning it has all the necessary components to bare fruit, but contains a small membrane between the pollen-containing anther and the stigma to be pollinated. The task of the pollinator ~ whether a orchid bee, hummingbird, or human hand ~ is to remove the membrane, joining the male & female parts of the plant and enabling it to bare fruit. Once successful pollinated, the beans take 9 months to mature. Watch this short video to see the hand pollination process!
After being cured, Vanilla beans have a moist, leathery feel and characteristic sweet aroma. Each pod houses an immeasurable amount of tiny speckle-sized seeds, which are revealed when the bean is cut open. Vanilla is a calming and widely beloved scent, and adds a harmonious smoothness to just about any formulation.