The Orchid Obsession
Orchids have been hunted and collected in almost every part of the world. Millions of people are addicted to their exotically beautiful faces. This human fascination for these compelling blossoms is often referred to as an obsession with orchids. It’s only competition in flowering plants that equal such human passion is the rose.
History tells us that in 1735, Carl Von Lin (Linnaeus), a Swedish botanist, used the word Orchidaceae (taken from Okhis), which let to further discoveries carried on by Darwin. Orchids belong to the family of Orchidaceae. There are two different growth types of orchids. Generally orchids are divided into Monopodial, Sympodial varieties.
Monopodial Orchids: have a central stem of growth. Monopodial Orchids have no pseudobulbs, but produce new growth from the crown of the plant. Flowers are produced from the stem between the leaves, usually alternately from side to side.
Sympodial Orchids: possess a rhizome, which sends out a shoot. This develops into a stem with leaves and eventually produces flowers. Later, from the base of this growth, a new shoot develops and goes on. The buds are often protected by a sheath.
Depending on their growth habits, orchids are divided into three main categories:
Epiphytic Orchids: are grown perched high in the trees clinging to branches or in the trunk apex of the tree. They derive their nutrients from the air, rain, and any decaying vegetation which the roots can contact. Epiphytic orchids have specialized aerial roots, which have a white spongy layer of cells called velamen. This protects the inner root tissues and absorbs water. These roots will also dangle free in the atmosphere.
Lithophytic Orchids: can be seen covering the bases and forks of trees or filling crevices in rocks. They absorb a maximum supply of nutrients from decaying mosses.
Terrestrial Orchids: may be seen under the ground, having a symbiotic relation with a special fungus. This in turn supports the orchid with the essential nutrients.
When you try to count how many types of orchids there are in the world, you can go crazy. It’s enough to know the common orchids which are grown domestically by orchid lovers. They are also commonly used by florists to make flower arrangements. We will cover the most common orchids grown in America’s homes in my next Article: Orchids from Home.
Esther Smith, author
When one thinks ‘orchid’, they may envision gorgeous exotic blossoms and a plant that is as fussy as the blossoms are beautiful. This may be so with some varieties, but there are some orchids that are very easy to grow. Why not learn more here=>