Learn About Orchids and Orchid Care

Learn About Orchids and Orchid Care

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Orchids in Commerce

There are a great number of tropical and subtropical orchids, and these are the most commonly known, as they are available at nurseries and through orchid clubs across the world. There are also quite a few orchids which grow in colder climates, although these are less often seen on the market.


  • Ophrys apifera, bee orchid
  • Gymnadenia conopsea, fragrant orchid
  • Anacamptis pyramidalis, pyramidal orchid
  • Dactylorhiza fuchsii, common spotted orchid
One orchid is used as a foodstuff flavoring, the source of Vanilla. The underground tubers of terrestrial orchids are ground up and used for cooking, such as in the hot beverage salep or the so-called "fox-testicle ice cream" salepi dondurma. The scent of orchids is frequently used by perfumists (using Gas-liquid chromatography) to identify potential fragrance chemicals. With these exceptions, orchids have virtually no commercial value other than for the enjoyment of the flowers (see also Botanical orchids).

The family of orchids is remarkably diverse. The plants found in "casual" culture, such as Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, Dendrobium, and so forth, represent a tiny fraction of the thousands of varieties of orchids. Also within the Orchidaceae are "leafless" orchids, which often appear as nothing more than masses of roots, achlorophyllous orchids that are entirely reliant upon their mycorrhizal symbiont for their nutrition, "jewel" orchids with foliage that is as pretty as their flowers, and so many others that are capable of affecting the most dedicated of growers very deeply. Ranging in size from tiny moss-like Pleurothallis species to massive Grammatophyllums (7 m) in New Guinea, their beauty and sophistication have captivated many.

The National Orchid Garden in the Singapore Botanic Gardens is considered by some to be among the finest collections of orchids in cultivation open to the public. In 2004 Taiwan established a Taiwan Orchid Plantation, a Science based Industrial Park, to develop its commercial Orchid exports in the future.


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