The Orchid family is any of over 25,000 different species of flowering plants found primarily in the wet tropics but also all over the world. The Orchid family is one of the several monocotyledonous flowering plant families that make up the Asparagales order. Some species of the genus Orchis have root tubers that resemble testicles, which is how the word “orchid” was originally translated from Greek. Non-tree perennials can be either ground-dwelling or tree-hugging herbs (i.e., growing on other plants rather than rooted in soil). These vine-like plants have a porous root covering called the velamen that draws moisture from the air and supplies it to the rest of the plant. While most organisms produce their food, certain species are saprophytic (living off decaying matter) or rely on a fungus at their roots to assist them to get what they need.
Variation in structure
Watch as an orchid family expert transfers the pollen from another fine specimen into the stigma of a lady’s slipper orchid in a controlled laboratory setting to demonstrate the process of cross-breeding.
Discover the fascinating world of orchids by watching a trained specialist transfer the pollen from another beautiful specimen to a lady’s slipper orchid in a controlled laboratory setting. The Orchid family is a distinct group of plants, however, this distinction is limited to the morphological (structural) features that are inherent to the flower and its arrangement. Each of the unique features of orchid flowers—including pollinia, the columnar arrangement of the stamens and pistil, and the absence of endosperm in the small seeds—can be found in other classes of flowering plants. Orchid family, a group of flowering plants, originates as a result of the combination of numerous features.
Although most orchids are herbaceous (nonwoody), several species may grow as vines, vinelike plants, or even small shrubs. They could be on the ground or high in a tree. Flowers can range in size from less than 2 mm (0.1 inches) in diameter for certain species of Pleurothallis to more than 38 cm (15 inches) in length from the tips of the lateral sepals (petallike structures) to the tip of the dorsal sepal. The wide spectrum of growth habits includes plants that are reduced to nothing but their roots (Dendrophylax), saprophytic plants that appear to lack chlorophyll (Corallorhiza), and giant plants (Arundina) that superficially resemble bamboo. Further, the family’s techniques of pollination, or the fact that it is designed for the use of a variety of different types of pollinators are largely responsible for the structural diversity among orchid flowers.
When the complete orchid family is taken into account, we see that they have a very diverse ecological distribution. The majority of this family’s members live in tropical environments, but some species inhabit the cooler regions of the northern and southern hemispheres. It’s been confirmed that at least four species exist above the Arctic Circle. Bogs, prairies, grasslands, and hardwood woods are all home to North Temperate Zone species.
The roadside ditches are home to many different kinds of orchids, including Spiranthes, Habenaria, and others. Platanthera ciliaris could almost be classified as a weed in some parts of the United States. Zeuxine strateumatica, an Asian species imported to southern Florida, has become a serious problem.
The Orchid family prefers temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius (77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit) at a minimum elevation of 4,600 meters (15,000 feet). The highest concentration of orchid species occurs in cloud-forest associations in the tropics, typically on mountain slopes where clouds gently brush the mountain day and night. Because of the slope of the ground, sunlight can filter down through the canopy and reach the ground in these types of woods. Epiphytic orchids, Gesneriads, Araceae, ferns, and many other types of plants flourish in this environment.
The Orchid family, in contrast to widespread assumption, does not thrive in rainforests located on relatively flat terrain. About 125 species of orchids have been documented in rain forests, orchids are typically only found at the very tops of particularly tall trees, with enormous numbers of a single species inhabiting a single tree while only one or two more species occupy surrounding trees. In the tropics, where there are distinct wet and dry seasons, you’ll find many different orchid species in the tropical-deciduous seasonal hardwood forests. Unfortunately, this is also where the best farmland is located, thus the forests rarely recover after being cleared for agriculture.
The Orchid family exhibits a high degree of environmental adaptability. Some orchids, in addition to those found above the Arctic Circle, are adapted to live in the desert; for instance, numerous kinds of orchids located in the dry parts of northern Peru are epiphytic on cacti. Two species of Oncidium and one species of Brassia are found on cactus in the Santa Elena Peninsula in western Ecuador. One species of Brassa vola can be found in Central American mangroves, usually at or just above the level of high tide. Several species can be seen colonizing Jamaica’s exposed rock faces. However, one species of Habenaria in the Everglades of Florida, United States, is nearly aquatic. One Pleurothallis species in western Mexico lives as an epiphyte on lichens.
Species of orchids range from those that are extremely common, such as the Ionopsis utricularioides found over most of the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, to those that appear to be confined to a single mountain. Each of the major islands in the West Indies is home to a diverse collection of endangered and threatened species.
From a gardening perspective, the orchid family is among the most important plant families. The Orchid family is a beautiful addition to any garden, but aside from their horticultural value, there aren’t many useful species in this family. The Orchid family solely provides vanilla, which has little commercial value on its own. Vanilla planifolia accounts for the vast majority of vanilla production, but two additional species are also farmed for commercial purposes (V. pompons and V. tahitensis). Major vanilla production occurs in Madagascar, Mexico, French Polynesia, Réunion, Dominica, Indonesia, the West Indies, Seychelles, Puerto Rico, and the rest of the Caribbean. Vanilla pods can be cultivated anywhere between sea level and around 600 meters in altitude. A native of the West’s tropical regions, this plant is a climbing vine.
Read More: All Types of flower in Bangalore
Several additional orchids have traditional medicinal and therapeutic uses. Bletia purpurea bulbs are boiled in the West Indies, and the resulting liquid is believed to alleviate the effects of seafood poisoning. In Malaysia, postpartum illness is avoided by having a drink made from the cooked leaves of Nervilia aragoana. Boils are traditionally treated using a poultice prepared from the entire plant of Oberonia anceps in Melaka (formerly Malacca), a state in western Malaysia. Spiranthes diuretic has a reputation as a powerful diuretic in Chile. It is widely believed that the mucilage extracted from Catasetum can help mend fractured bones in several regions of Ecuador. Certain orchids are also utilized as food or dietary supplements in certain parts of the world. The leaves of Dendrobium salaccense are a popular flavoring for rice in Malaysia, and those of one species of Anoectochilus are sold raw as a vegetable. The tubers of several species of Gastrodia are used much like potatoes in the tropics of Asia. Many different kinds of the orchid family is grown specifically for their ability to replace glue in various cultures. Pseudobulbs are typically the source of the adhesive. Several different kinds of Orchis tubers are used to make sales. The tubers go through the cooking, drying, and powdering process. The ensuing mix is frequently used in place of flour.
The flower is where most of the traits that set orchids apart from other flowering plants come into play. The pedicel is the flower’s supporting stalk, located at the base of non-orchid flowers without specialized structures. A whorl of green, leafy structures called sepals can be found both above and below the flower’s actual center. A secondary ring of colorful petals appears above and within the sepals. The perianth is the term for the non-reproductive elements of a flower, which include the sepals and the petals. The perianth either shields the flower from harm or lures in pollinators. The sexual parts of a flower are located deep within (also in whorls). The pollen-making stamens, which can have several whorls, are the first part of a flower to be examined. The female pistil made up of an expanded inferior ovary and a stalklike style with a stigma at its tip is located at the flower’s base. Typically, there are three of each sepal and petal, and they have a similar appearance and a similar color scheme. The lip is a specially adapted petal that serves as a landing area for pollinators (or labellum).
Sexual flower parts of orchids are distinctive and distinguish the family from other types of flowers. Reduced in number and typically merged into a single structure called the column, the filaments, anthers, style, and stigma are all components of flowers. Of the orchid family studied, the vast majority kept only the terminal anther.
The three carpels that make up the orchid’s ovary are fused, and the only visible sign of this is the presence of three distinct ridges on the seed pods. The ripe seed pod splits open lengthwise at the junction lines. The considerable time that passes from when a flower is pollinated to when a mature pod opens is due in part to the arrangement of the ovules along the ridges inside the ovary
In most cases, the sepals and petals may be easily distinguished from one another. The labellum, or lip, refers to the fertile petal opposite the stamen. It is common for two or even all three sepals to be fused, and it is not uncommon for the lip, the petals, or the sepals to be attached to the column for a considerable length of time. The fertile stamen or stamens are typically located on the side of the flower opposite the lip, which is a distinguishing feature of the orchid family and other advanced monocots. The blossom is now perfectly symmetrical on all sides.
Orchid family has a variety of nectaries, including extrafloral nectaries that produce nectar on the surface of the developing flower buds or inflorescence. Common facial features include shallow cup-shaped nectaries near the lip’s apex. Some nectar glands form on lengthy spurs that emerge from the base of the lip or the united sepals. The ovary and a long, tubular nectary are both located at the flower’s base in the Epidendrum complex species. There are known nectaries on the lip’s side lobes, and nectar production along the lip’s central groove is rather typical. If the Orchid family has nectaries at all, they are located on the sepals or petals.
The anther of most orchids has the form of a cap at the flower’s crown. Some of the earliest orchid family has anthers that resemble those of lilies and amaryllis. The anther in Habenaria and its close relatives extends beyond the column’s summit but remains firmly attached.
Pollen grains are typically seen in clusters called pollinia, which are held together by threads of a clear, sticky material (viscin). There are two primary types of pollinia: the sectile type, which consists of soft, mealy packets bound together to a viscin core by viscin threads, and the incompact to hard, waxlike type, which typically contains some mealy pollen with viscin strands that attach the pollinia or a viscidium. The term “caudicle” is used to describe this section of the pollinium.
Although in most monocot flowers the stigma consists of three stigmatic lobes, these are fused into one in orchids. The stigma is a shallow depression on the inner edges of the column. The stigma’s three-part structure can be seen in the form of faint lines on its surface.
The rostellum is a flap of tissue that descends downward in front of the anther in most orchids, separating the stigma from the anther. This flap is formed by a piece of one of the three stigma lobes. To leave a flower, pollinating insects brush the sticky stigmatic liquid-covered rostellum. Following this, the insect transfers the pollinia from the anther to its own body. Some ancient species lack a rostellum, therefore the pollinia must first be covered with stigmatic fluids before they will cling to the insect’s back. In more complex orchids, the rostellum has already specialized by attaching the pollen-bearing caudicles to it, and a little part of the rostellum peels off to form a sticky pad known as a viscidium. The pollinia and viscidium are joined in the most complex species by a thin band of columnar tissue that is not sticky. The caudicles, which originate in the anther, are not to be confused with this strip of tissue, which is called the stipe. If an orchid family has a stipe, it also has caudicles, which run from the pollinia to the tip of the stipe. The pollinarium consists of the pollinia, stipe, and viscidium.
Get More: Best snake plant