Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Orchid Form And Structure

Although it is the largest flowering plant family, the group as awhole show less vegetative and floral diversity than many smaller families. There are, however several characteristics that distinguish orchids. Their seeds are minute and dustlike and are produced inside, in a capsule.

The seeds may take up to 18 months to germinate and a further 18 months to mature into flowering plants. Unlike other seeds they have no endosperm (part of the seed where food is stored) and therefore depend on an external food source for nutrients throughout germination. For successful growth in the wild orchid plants almost always maintain a symbiotic relationship with various species of fungi.

This is a relationship of mutual benefit to the species concerned-the fungi providing nutrients during germination and until the orchi is established, and the fungi benefiting from sugars from the orchid when it is able to photosynthesize.

About This Website

300 Orchids presents a cross section of species and hybrids frequently available to the general public through the orchid trade, as well as some more unusual species cultivated by orchid enthusiasts. Within the website there are a number of types of description:

Genus Entries. These are divided into three elements: Data, Main Article, and Photograph.


  • Number of Species indicates the number of species in the genus.
  • Classification gives the full botanical name, the orchid hunter's name, and the year it was first discovered and described.
  • Form describes the key characteristics of the genus.
  • Distribution indicates where the species can be found in the wild.
  • Habitat outlines the type of habitat in which it is found in the wild.

Main Articles presents additional background information about the genus, including general cultivation methods for members of that genus.

Photograph depicts a member of the genus.

Species Entries. These follow on from many of the genus entries and describe the key characteristics, cultivation methods, and classification of representative species, together with an illustration of each species.

Picture Galleries.These galleries illustrate other species and hybrids within a genus, giving a wider representation of the huge variety of orchids.