Believe it or not, one of the key flavorings in baked goods actually comes from an orchid. Vanilla is a genus of orchids whose seeds are used to make a flavorful cooking extract. These plants are native to Central and South America and tally in at around 110 species. Vanilla planifolia is the species most commonly cultivated for its high flavor content. The Greenhouse at Duke has two species V. planifolia and V. pompona.