Learn About Orchids and Orchid Care

Learn About Orchids and Orchid Care

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Orchidaceae

Orchids (Orchidaceae family) are among the largest and most diverse of the flowering plant (angiosperm) families, with over 800 described genera and 25,000 (some sources give 30,000) species, and perhaps another 60,000 hybrids and varieties produced by horticulturalists. The Kew checklist "World Checklist of Orchids" gives about 24,000 accepted names. About 800 new species are added each year. There are more orchid species than all vertebrates combined, excluding bony fishes. Orchids, through their floral complexity and their interactions with pollinators and their symbiosis with mycorrhizae, are considered by some to be the culmination of floral evolution.

Orchids get their name from the Greek orchis, meaning 'testicle', from the appearance of subterranean tuberoids in some terrestrial species. The word 'orchis' was first used by Theophrastos (371/372 - 287/286 B.C.), in his book "De historia plantarum" (The natural history of plants). He was a student of Aristotle and is considered the father of botany and ecology.

Orchids, in their natural habitat, are considered by CITES as threatened or endangered. They are therefore protected.

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