Orchid Facts

Orchid Facts
Orchids are one of the largest and most diverse groups of plants. So far, over 25 000 species of orchids have been described. Each year, researchers are discovering hundreds of new species. Besides huge number of orchids in the wild, 100 000 varieties of orchids are created artificially, via selective breeding. Orchids can be found throughout the world. They can survive in different kind of habitats, even close to the Arctic Circle. Most species of orchids live in tropical rainforests, in the warm and humid climates. Unfortunately, 10% of all orchid species are close to extinction because of the growing popularity of cultivation of orchids.
Interesting Orchid Facts:
Size of orchids depends on the species. They can be tiny as a penny or extremely large, weighing couple of hundred pounds.
Orchids can have single flower or racemose inflorescence. Each flower is bilateral symmetric, which means that it can be divided in two equal parts.
Size, shape and texture of leaves depend on the habitat. Orchids that live in dry climate have thick leaves covered with wax, while species that live in warm and humid areas have thin, elongated leaves. Certain species of orchids do not have leaves at all.
Orchids do not have classic root. They have rhizome, tuber or aerial roots.
Orchids can live on the ground (terrestrial forms), attached to woody plants (epiphytic types) or under the ground.
Certain species of orchids are parasitic. They are not able to produce food (sugar) using the sunlight and carbon dioxide (like other plants). Instead, they obtain food from fungi that live inside their roots.
Bond between orchids and certain species of insects is tight and highly specialized. Petals have similar shape and color like female insects to attract males and ensure pollination.
Due to high specialization of pollination, extinction of insect means extinction of orchid (there is no one else who can pollinate it in the wild).
Flower of orchid can survive from few hours to 6 months, depending on the species.
Orchids produce several millions of miniature seeds. Only few seeds will develop into mature plant.
Seed of orchids does not have endosperm which provides nutrients required for the germination. Because of that, all orchids (including non parasitic forms) live in symbiosis with fungi during germination. Germination can last from couple of weeks to 15 years.
People use orchids for numerous purposes. Substances isolated from orchids are used in industry of perfumes, spices and in traditional Asian medicine.
Vanilla is one of the best known and widely used flavors. It is extracted from the pod of Vanilla planifolia, which is a species of orchid.
Orchids are very old plants. According to the fossil evidences, orchids exist on the planet around 100 million years.
Lifespan of orchid depends on the species. Certain species can survive up to 100 years.

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