Orchid is the flower that has some kind of mystique aura among other kinds of plants. They are elegant, mysterious, and somehow appears unreal. That’s why many people from any part of the world are attracted to this kind flower.
In addition, orchids can be found in every part of the world too, and indeed they come in various types and beauty. Some are endemic and rare, giving them additional bargaining point to own one and put it in the garden. In this article, we are going to talk about orchids. Let’s start.
It Comes In Huge Variety
Orchid is one of the largest flowering plant families in the world, and each of them has distinctive features. Every species has unique size, look, and features that no other member of the family has. So, firstly let’s talk about the physical features of the flowers.
Orchids come in various size, starting from Plztystele jungermannioides which is believed to be the smallest kind of orchid growing on this earth to Grammatophyllum speciosum, the biggest species of orchid in existence.
Plztystele jungermannioides usually comes in size of only 2 millimeters, not bigger than your teeth. While Grammatophyllum speciosum, also known as the giant orchid comes in size of 2.5 meters. When you see them one by one, you might not believe that they are in the same family of flowers.
The unique part is, any kind of orchid, whether it is the smallest or the biggest kind, is possible to develop into a giant cluster. Their roots form a kind of bundle, tangling to one another, to form a weighty cluster reaching hundreds of kilograms to tons.
Interestingly, orchids are known to not have any usual roots like most kinds of plants. They only develop rhizomes, tuber, or aerial roots, depends on their way of living and the place where they live. That’s why, no wonder some orchids are able to grow both on the ground or attached to woody plants.
Not only the flowers, the leaves of the plant also vary from one another. The variety in size, shape, and texture of the leaves is believed to be their adaptation to their habitats. Orchids inhabiting humid areas are believed to be able to live without developing any leaf, while the ones living in dry areas are developing thick leaves covered in wax.
How They Grow
Like mentioned before, some orchids are able to grow on the ground, some are able to grow by attaching themselves to a tree, and some are able to grow in both places. For those that grow on trees, some of them are parasitic, while some others are not.
The non-parasitic orchids, whether they are growing on the ground or attached to woody plants, are able to produce their own foods by conducting photosynthesis process. But parasitic orchids are unable to produce foods by photosynthesis process using the sunlight and carbon dioxide.
However, unlike other parasitic plants, that absorb the nutrients they need from the host they are attaching to, parasitic orchids are somewhat more independent. The nutrients they need to grow are produced by a group of fungi growing inside their roots.
Not only that, the fungi also help them in the germination process. Every seeds coming from orchids does not have any endosperm required for germination. That’s why, even the non-parasitic orchids live in symbiosis with the fungi during germination period that may last between weeks up to 15 years.
As orchids grow, they don’t like to stay in the same growing medium because the peat, bark, and moss break down in the long run. When this happens, the growing medium becomes compacted, which limits proper airflow. The compacted medium also retains excessive moisture, thereby causing soggy roots that could lead to root rot and other diseases. To prevent this from happening, the grower must learn how to repot an orchid to provide proper airflow and water drainage as well as promote nutrient absorption.
The Special One
Somehow, orchids are pretty easy to grow, and that’s the reason why people love growing one in their gardens. “It’s not necessary to turn your home into a steaming jungle in order to grow beautiful orchids. In fact, many orchids really don’t deserve their reputation for being difficult or fussy plants to grow,” stated University of Minnesota’s Yard and Garden brief on How to Grow Orchids as Houseplants.
But since they are easy to grow, and nowadays they are easy to find too, what makes them special? The answer is their flowers. The flowers of the plants are hugely various in colors, smells, and features. Most orchids have unique features in their flowers that may amaze you.
Some flowers are able to resemble animals whether with many purposes, some are for defense mechanism, some are to attract pollinators, and some others are without any clear purposes. Take for example monkey orchid and owl orchid, both appears pretty similar to specific species of animal according to the name.
Amazingly, as said before that there are massive number of members in the orchid family, almost none of them appear similar to each other. According Flower Web, there are more than 25,000 species all around the world that have been officially documented.
Here are some of the world’s most beautiful orchids:
- Bamboo Orchid. Belonging to the genus Arundin, the Bamboo Orchid is native to India, Singapore, China, and Sri Lanka. The flowers of this charming tropical orchid are light pinkish, with similarities to Cattleya.
- Miltassia. The flowers of Miltassia have numerous patterns and color variants. One particularly attractive type has white spots in the middle of dark-colored petals. This orchid also has pseudobulbs with long green leaves that grow upright from the bulbs.
- Bletilla Striata. This attractive terrestrial orchid may be found in Vietnam, China, Myanmar, and Japan. It has pinkish-purple small blossoms similar to Cattleya.
- Red Barry. This stunningly elegant orchid has the color of red wine. Its flowers are highly favored to enhance the decoration for parties and formal functions.
- Drakaea Glyptodon. More popularly known as ‘king in his carriage,’ this orchid has a unique appearance. Its upper part is hairy and dark maroon in color. Since the flower looks like a wasp, pollination is made easier.
Living In This Age
Orchids, behind their mysterious and elegant aura covering each of their petals that many people love, might have not get the attention they deserve. The reason is even the easy-growing family of plant is still in need of other organisms.
Like mentioned before, they are in a symbiosis with some kind of fungi to get the nutrients they need and germination. Not only that, most orchids are dependent on bugs and insects for pollination. Even some kinds of orchids are highly dependent on specific species of bugs and insects.
Many kinds of orchids are even developing flowers resembling the shape of specific insects to attract the insects or bugs of opposite sex for pollination. Because of that, in this era when the number of wild insect and bugs are declining significantly in number, most orchids are under the same threat.
Thus, if some specific insects are going extinct, some species of orchids will likely suffer from the same defeat. Considering orchids are not only useful for decoration purposes (some orchids are also believed to have medicinal purposes too), again human kinds will be the last part of the chains to suffer from the defeat. From the simple explanation, you should realize that actually we are also a part of the nature.