February 18, 2009

Species of Orchids - An Overview

The primordial goop that existed at the beginning of time sprung forth life on our planet. One form of life still around, even today, is the orchid. Orchids are extremely adaptable, making it possible for these flowering plants to thrive. As the Earth changed over the millennia, so did the orchid species.

Orchid species, having existed for such a long time, they number to almost 900 genera and nearly 25,000 accepted species. Hybrids have been developed that number to 100,000. Three thousand hybrids are added each year. At times, you can create up to twenty species for each hybrid genera. Propagation of the orchid species encompasses every eco-system from desert to ice, tropical to temperate. For instance, tropical Americas hold 250-270 genera, tropical Asia has 260-300, tropical Africa gives us 230-270 genera, Oceania's offer is 50-70 genera, and Europe and temperate Asia have 40-60 species, while North America holds 20-26 genera.

There are two manners in which an orchid species grow. The first is monopodial, wherein the orchids do not have pseudobulbs and actually grow from the crown of the plant. Roots on monopodials can grow at random, with some roots even becoming aerial in nature. Second, we have sympodial orchids, which do have pseudobulbs. These orchids grow laterally, with shoots coming off a rhizome either clustered closely or spread apart from each other. To have a successful life, orchids should be grown in conditions to match where they would naturally occur. For instance, those orchids grown in a tropical climate will not live long in cooler temperatures, and vice-versa. One way to tell what their natural habitat may be is by simply looking at an orchid's leaves. If the leaves are thick and fleshy, the orchid wants warmth and large, thin leaves indicate the orchid wants cooler temperatures. Also make sure your orchid doesn't receive too much sun, as they can sunburn.

Following is a list of some of the most popular orchid species that you may find.

Cattleya: Sympodial with 23 species, this orchid is named for William Cattleya and is found in the West Indies and Mexico. At least 28 flowers will grow per stem. This is also known as the corsage orchid.

Cymbidiums: Another sympodial, the Cymbidium grows in the Himalayas and Asia in cooler temperatures and has 44 species.

Phalaenopsis: Known as the Moth Orchid, this orchid is located in the South Seas, Java and Queensland, Australia. Many flowers can blossom from the Moth Orchid.

Oncidiums: This is the most popular orchid, with around 600 orchid species. From tropical Americas, this orchid comes in many colors and sizes.

Orchid species will live in forests, rocks, grasslands, mountains or bogs. They are a very clever plant, able to adapt and grow anywhere. Orchids can also trick insects into pollination through mimicry, dance, and fragrance. These plants can also be used as herbs and cures. Did you know vanilla comes from an orchid? Also, valerian, one of the raw forms of valium, comes from an orchid species.

This had been a brief overview of orchid species, as the information can be limitless. From dinosaurs to man, the orchid has been cherished by all for its elegance and diversity. Whether you want to simply grow an orchid or use it for medicinal purposes, you will find the perfect orchid species.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mel_Beauchamp

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