The prospective orchidist will want to have common education of the orchid family and an appraise of the individual members with whom, he may want later to become more tightly acquainted. The scale of excellent is thick, since there are from fifteen to twenty thousand species.
The orchid family varies typically in territory, ranging throughout the tropics, over the calm zones of both hemispheres, and even feat into the fringes of the Arctic. There is an alike large change in category, with some systems of classification.
The first division is into monopodial and sympodial groups, referring to the habit of increase. The monopodial, including the Vanda and Aerides, grow continually from a central crown, which eventually appears atop a long stem that has frequently alone its reduce plants. Phalaenopsis, though monopodial, is stemless, but yearly grows a twosome of leaves from the characteristic crown.
The trees of monopodial orchids are profound, leathery, fleshy, and qualified of storing some measure of damp, but the plants must never be allowed to dry out completely. The plants of Vanda teres, like pine needles, do not resemble plants, but are three to four inches long, very little, cycle and tender, and narrowing to a stage.
The sympodial group, of which Cattleya, Laelia, and Coelogyne are notable examples, has a creeping rootstock, with each new tumor springing from the center and alongside the last year’s increase. The new cyst appears as a growth or “hidden” eye that at the right time will “halt” or instigate to grow. In some genera, such as Laelia and Coelogyne, the growths will sever in some directions, but in Cattleya usually in only one.
The pseudobulb, a characteristic of sympodial orchids, is a tank for food and moisture against times of need and dormancy. It differs commonly according to the different genera. The pseudobulb of Cattleya is longish, smooth, and rounded; while that of Laelia may be vaguely crushed, even in some gear assuming a many-sided pointed form. Certain species have pseudobulbs that resemble small pineapples. The pseudobulbs of Odonto-glossum and Miltonia are much flattened and compressed; those of Coelogyne are very round, midstream, and creative; and those of Cymbidium very large, rounded, and solid. Dendrobium in many species lacks pseudobulbs, but even the long stick-like flower stems, along which the leaves grow in pairs, are qualified of storing food and moisture.
Orchids may also be classified as saprophytic, terrestrial, partly-terrestrial, and epiphytic. Here we will not be much worried with the saprophytes, natives of clement zones, since they also lack plants fully or have small inconspicuous plants of awareness only to the botanist.
The terrestrial orchids are also found in the temperate zones of both hemispheres. Among them are the tall Sobralia, elegant Cypripediums, Spiranthes, and fairy-flowered Habenaria. Calypso bulbosa (or borealis) is a native of the cold reaches of the Arctic.
North America abounds in native orchids, many of which are very common and not generally recognized as orchids. Most flashy of these, the Cypripedium or well-known “woman’s slipper,” has a wide sort of territory in the United States and has attractive foliage as well as flowers. However, few of the terrestrial orchids transplant well from their muddy homes, and it is perhaps best to request them out and have them in their native habitat.
By far the prime, most diverse, and most glitzy of the orchid family are included in the half-terrestrial and epiphytic groups. These are tropical or subtropical and live on trees in the rainswept coastal jungles or on bare rocks in the hot sun. Their elevation ranges from sea direct to two thousand feet above sea rank. They abound through parts of Asia, the islands of the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and South and Central America. The Himalayas and the Andes are also affable to lovely orchids.
This is but a fraction of the quantity of the orchid family: the orchidist will maybe never come to the end of his focus. He should delight in the wealth free.