Also known as Phalaenopsis grandiflora or "moon orchid", P. amabilis is one of the best known orchids in the world. The flowers are some of the largest in the orchid family and can last for several months. Hybrids and cultivars of P. amabilis are the most commonly used orchids for flower arrangements and is often kept as a houseplant, where it can bloom multiple times per year if properly cared for.
In the wild, P. amabilis grows in humid rainforests from New Guinea to northern Australia. Like most orchids it is an epiphyte, using its roots to firmly attach itself to tree trunks and branches.
Certain subspecies of P. amabilis are listed as endangered, with illegal collectors posing the biggest and most immediate threat.
This beautifully composed watercolor is often credited to Frederick Sander (sometimes known by his full name of Henry Frederick Conrad Sander), a German-English businessman and orchidologist who published the four volume, multi-language tome Reichenbachia: Orchids Illustrated and Described. However the painting itself was probably done by Sander's talented English son-in-law Henry George Moon.