About Orchids

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This article is a basic introduction to Orchid plants
by Brett · All Zones · Orchids · 0 Comments · February 05, 2011 · 7,624 views

No flowering plant has captured the attention of humans, or stirred their passions, in quite the way that orchids have. In past ages, orchids - in all their 20,000 or so wild varieties - have been hunted and collected in almost every part of the world. Today, millions of people remain devoted to the plant and its exotically beautiful “faces.”

Orchids exhibit an incredible range of diversity in size, shape and color of flowers. They are most pampered of the plants and occupy top position among all the flowering plants valued for cut flower production and as potted plants.

The evolution of orchid culture from hobbyist to commercial grower was very slow as most of the orchids collected from different regions did not adapt to local conditions and died. The methods of propagation were not known and most of the orchids which flowered under utmost care were found to be self sterile. Further, it was difficult to germinate the seeds, which lacks any functional endosperm. The seeds sown in the nursery beds required long period of time for germination, and any disturbance to the soil or physical environment destroyed the whole population.

It wasn't until the early 1800's that orchid plants were being grown commercially. By the late 1800's a large number of man made hybrids were being produced by hobbyists and small growers.

The major developments in cultivation of orchids in the world have been due to modern scientific technology, which has been suitably used for orchid seed germination and meristem culture. Today orchids are grown on assembly-line method in extensive greenhouses with strictly controlled environments. Modern methods of propagation have bought orchid cultivation on par with other commercial crops.


When getting interested in orchids one of the first things people want to know is what are the types of orchids? Orchids are a very large and diverse family of plants. Orchids or Orchidaceae are in the family of monocot flowering plants in the super order Liliiforae.

Many people are surprised to find that orchids grow in all the continents except Antarctica. They can be found from the Arctic to the Equator and south from there.

Essentially there are two different types of orchids and they are calledmonopodial andsympodial. Knowing whether the orchid you have is monopodial or sympodial is important because this information will help you know how to grow it properly, re-bloom it successfully, and also gives you clues as to how to propagate the plant.


Monopodial orchids grow mainly upward. Essentially these are orchids that have a single stem and the stems grow indefinitely. With this kind of orchid the leaves always grow from the ends of its tip and it flowers from buds at the juncture of the recently matured leaves and the stem. Monopodial is Latin for “single foot”. Examples of this type of growth habit are Phalaenopsis, link to the Phal page, Vanda and the Japanese wind orchid Neofinetia falcata. Below is a picture of a lovely "Blue" Vanda. Vandas are classical examples of monopodial orchids.


A sympodial orchid grows out along the surface of the growing medium and the stem can often be horizontal. This stem is essentially a rhizome and the new growths come from buds along the stem and can send out their own roots. Flowers of this group can originate from the base of the plant or from a recently matured pseudobulb or from between the leaves at the top. Sympodial is Latin for “many footed”. An example of this kind of orchid would be Cattleya or an Oncidium.

Go nto next page to read about more types of orchids

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