More Types of Orchids

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This article is a basic introduction to Orchid plants
by Brett · All Zones · Orchids · 0 Comments · February 05, 2011 · 6,910 views

More Types of Orchids

Within these two groups there are additional classifications depending on their manner of growth whether they are terrestrial, epiphytic , climbing or lithophytic.

Terrestrial Orchids as their name would suggest grow and flower on the ground. Among the terrestrial orchids are Spathoglottis, Cymbidiums, the slipper orchids and the Chinese ground orchids. However many do not grow in the same soil that we might think of as potting soil. They grow more in the humus and leaf litter that would comprise the “soil” of the forest floor.

Epiphyte: from Greek "epi", meaning “upon” and phyton, “a plant”: A plant that grows above the ground on another plant, such as a tree, but is not parasitic on it; derives moisture and nourishment for the air and rain; also call an air plant. Epiphytic orchids are found naturally in the canopy of trees. These are the main group of tropical orchids. They use the trees for support and exposure to sunlight, but do not take any nourishment for the trees on which they grow. They are not parasitic. They produce aerial roots which do not thrive in soil. Many Vandas are epiphytic.

Climbing orchids are monopodial. They often originate on the ground and move up higher in the tree, climbing as they grow. They often have extensive aerial roost. A Vanda would be this kind of plant as well.

Lithophyte: Again from Greek “litho” meaning stone and phyte “a plant”. So a plant that grows on the surface of rocks or on stony ground. These types of orchids are rarer and not as commonly cultivated. The lithophitic orchids are manly from the more tropical areas of the world. They grow exposed on rocks and high outcroppings. Their strong roots absorb moisture and nutrients from the air and any additional nutrients from the detritus and organic debris that collect in the crevices of the rocks. The leaves of some of these orchids are often quite fleshy and they have succulent pseudobulbs to help hold moisture to help the plant through any prolonged dry spells. Examples of this kind of orchids is several Pathiopediliums and Bulbophyllum membranaceum that might occur.


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