Known for their beauty, orchids (Phalaenopsis) are the largest family of plants in the world and, through the development of many artificial hybrids, one of the most popular orchids in the trade.  It is native to southern China, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia (Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.), New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Queensland.

The species vary greatly in weight and size with some petals getting as long as 30 inches, and flowers growing up to 14 feet long. They also come in every color, except black. They grow on rocks, in the soil, underground and on other plants and trees, all while relying on certain insects or birds for pollination.

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Here are some interesting facts:

  • Vanilla is one of the best known and widely used flavours. It is extracted from the pod of Vanilla planifolia, which is a species of orchid.
  • Orchids are very old plants. According to the fossil evidences, orchids have existed on the planet around 100 million years.
  • People use orchids for numerous purposes. Substances isolated from orchids are used in industry of perfumes, spices and in traditional Asian medicine. They have been used as a source of herbal remedies in China since 2800 BC.
  • The size of orchids depends on the species. They can be as tiny as a penny or extremely large, weighing a couple of hundred pounds.   Grammatophyllum speciosum, is believed to be the largest orchid species in existence and Plztystele jungermannioides (which is believed to be the smallest Orchid in the world) grows to a tiny 2mm.
  • Orchid Plants can develop into gigantic clusters weighing from several hundred kilograms to one ton with the root structure forming spectacular bundles.
  • Orchids produce several millions of miniature seeds, from which only a few seeds will develop into mature plants.

orchid3 orchid4