Orchids are easily distinguished from other plants, as they share some very evident apomorphies. Among these are: bilateral symmetry (zygomorphism), many resupinate flowers, a nearly always highly modified petal (labellum), fused stamens and carpels, and extremely small seeds.
the orchid family, Orchidaceae, is the most numerous in the plant kingdom. There are about 25,000 to 30,000 known species of orchids around the world. Orchids are found in all continents except Antarctica, from hot tropical jungles to the cold climate in North America. However, some orchids are found only in certain region of the world and nowhere else, for example, the Vanda genus colonizes only South East Asia. Orchids are often seen in flower arrangements because there are so many different types and they add color to any bouquet.
There are two types of orchids: terrestrial orchids and epiphytes. Terrestrial orchids, such as Cymbidium, grow on the ground, while epiphytes establish themselves on trees. Each type of orchids can grow in two different ways:
- Sympodial orchids: the new shoots emerge alongside of the old plants, causing lateral spread. Catleya is sympodial-epiphytes. Most epiphytic- sympodial orchids have storage stems, pseudobulbs or bulbs, to help them survive the dry season.
- Monopodial orchids: new growth is added to the apex, increasing the plant's height. The leaves are arranged alternately around the stem. Examples of monopodial orchids are Vanda, Phalaenopsis...
plant breeders in their hundreds of thousands. These "new" species may be the result of crossing two related species, or from three to four different genera.
Orchids are the most beautiful, the most sensual, the most exotic, and the most costly flowers.