Vanilla is a flavouring derived from orchids in the genus Vanilla native to Mexico. The name came from the Spanish word "", meaning "little pod". "Vanilla Miller" by James D. Ackerman, Flora of North America 26:507, June 2003.
The Vanilla orchid
The main species harvested for vanillin is Vanilla planifolia. Although it is native to Mexico, it is now widely grown throughout the tropics. Madagascar is the world's largest producer. Additional sources include Vanilla pompona and Vanilla tahitiensis (grown in Tahiti), although the vanillin content of these species is much less than Vanilla planifolia.Vanilla grows as a vine, climbing up an existing tree, pole, or other support. It can be grown in a wood (on trees), in a plantation (on trees or poles), or in a "shader", in increasing orders of productivity. Left alone, it will grow as high as possible on the support, with few flowers. Every year, growers fold the higher parts of the plant downwards so that the plant stays at heights acce