June 16, 2009

Hawaii Orchids in Its Natural Habitat

By Carl Harrison

Hawaii is famous for orchids, and the people of Hawaii are proud of their orchid culture. Orchids have become a part of the Hawaiian tradition, and they are used for a wide variety of purposes ranging right from dressing up a drink to decorating a room for lending that tropical touch to it. They have also been traditionally worn by actors and actresses in the form of garlands or emblazoned them across their shirts.

It's no doubt that orchids are America's most popular flowering plant. The tropical climate of Hawaii also favors the growth of these species, and the temperature is warm the whole year. Also, since the humidity level is lower here than other tropical areas due to constant trade winds, the growth of these plants are directly benefited.

For centuries the people of Hawaii have considered orchids as a symbol of love, tenderness, joy and friendship. It is no wonder then, that a lot of research and innovation has been put into the cultivation of these lovely plants. The orchid industry in Hawaii is a thriving one, providing employment for many people and responsible for the creation of hundreds of jobs. The Hawaiian Orchid cultivation industry has set excellent standards for itself and is considered to be one of the best in the world.

Interestingly, however the Hawaiian Islands are native to only three species of orchids:

Liparis Hawaiensis

This terrestrial orchid also called the twayblade is found in all the major Hawaiian Islands. It's a tiny green-flowered species, found in the rain forests and can grow to a height of 16 inches. They are known to bloom throughout the year, however these can be usually found in their full bloom between May to November.

Platanthera Holochila

This orchid is categorized to be "highly endangered" and is a rare commodity. Sightings of these have not been reported recently and one would be extremely lucky to come across these species in the Big Island. In fact it is said that they have not been seen on the island of O'ahu in 60 years, with botanists speculating that it may already be extinct. This orchid thrives in wet conditions and can be usually found in wet and windy bogs, growing to a height of about 20 inches. The most striking feature of this orchid is the 5 to 60 spectacularly densely clustered flowers adorning it when in full bloom.

Anoectochilus Sandvicensis

This orchid is the most common of the species and can be found on all the major Hawaiian Islands. It is also known as the "jewel orchid" because of its exceptionally beautiful foliage and is found in the high rain forests, growing to a height of 20 inches. These are known to bloom throughout the year, but they are in their full bloom during the period between August and December.

Hawaii's natural climatic conditions make it an ideal place for the growth of these beautiful orchids. With the Hawaii potted orchid industry growing by leaps and bounds it is no wonder that the orchid is truly the quintessential flower of Hawaii and its people.

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