Color plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der NaturNeottia nidus-avis, a myco-heterotrophCattleya aclandiae. Note the typical zygomorphic flower with three petal-like sepals (top, lower right, lower left), two normal petals on either side and  the labellumOrchis lactea showing the two tubers
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Orchids

Orchidaceae, also called the Orchid family, is the largest family of the flowering plants (Angiospermae). Its name is derived from the genus Orchis. more...

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The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew list 880 genera and nearly 22,000 accepted species, but the exact number is unknown (perhaps as many as 25,000) because of taxonomic disputes. The number of orchid species equals about four times the number of mammal species, or more than twice the number of bird species. It also encompasses about 6–11% of all seed plants. About 800 new orchid species are added each year. The largest genera are Bulbophyllum (2,000 species), Epidendrum (1,500 species), Dendrobium (1,400 species) and Pleurothallis (1,000 species). The family also includes the Vanilla (the genus of the vanilla plant), Orchis (type genus) and many commonly cultivated plants like some Phalaenopsis or Cattleya.

Moreover, since the introduction of tropical species in the 19th century, horticulturists have more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.

Distribution

Orchidaceae are cosmopolitan, occurring in almost every habitat apart from deserts and glaciers. The great majority are to be found in the tropics, mostly Asia, South America and Central America. They are found above the Arctic Circle, in southern Patagonia and even on Macquarie Island, close to Antarctica.

The following list gives a rough overview of their distribution:

  • tropical America: 300 to 350 genera
  • tropical Asia: 250 to 300 genera
  • tropical Africa: 125 to 150 genera
  • Oceania: 50 to 70 genera
  • Europe and temperate Asia: 40 to 60 genera
  • North America: 20 to 30 genera

Taxonomy

This family is totally recognised, and the APG II system of 2003 places it in the order Asparagales.

The taxonomy of this family is in constant flux, as new studies continue to identify more classificatory elements.

Five subfamilies are now recognised. The cladogram has been made according to the APG system:

Ecology

Neottia nidus-avis, a myco-heterotrophRead more at Wikipedia.org


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Pot. Love Tapestry 'Popular Song'Pot. Love Tapestry 'Popular Song' $7.99 Cattleya Orchid Plant (8833-5) Pot. Mem. Kim Nowak "Richard"Cattleya Orchid Plant (8833-5) Pot. Mem. Kim Nowak "Richard" $35.00
Botanica Ltd. Dendrobium lichenastrum *Plaqued-Bloom Size* Species Orchid PlantBotanica Ltd. Dendrobium lichenastrum *Plaqued-Bloom Size* Species Orchid Plant $16.99 Blc. Dewey Forest 'Kudos' Cattleya Orchid Backbulb Division $9.99 Nr!Blc. Dewey Forest 'Kudos' Cattleya Orchid Backbulb Division $9.99 Nr! $9.99
Red Elderberry . Native Shrub . 30 SeedsRed Elderberry . Native Shrub . 30 Seeds $1.95 Dendrobium Orchid Oriental Smile Butterfly New Growths Keikis BeautifulDendrobium Orchid Oriental Smile Butterfly New Growths Keikis Beautiful $28.00
Dayton Submersible Pump Used to water Orchids and Plants with Rain WaterDayton Submersible Pump Used to water Orchids and Plants with Rain Water $100.00 Sedirea japonica (Phalaenopsis) - Mounted Blooming Size Orchid Species PlantSedirea japonica (Phalaenopsis) - Mounted Blooming Size Orchid Species Plant $23.48
Dendrobium aggregatum Den Species Orchid Plant Blooming Size Rare and Unusual!Dendrobium aggregatum Den Species Orchid Plant Blooming Size Rare and Unusual! $5.50 5 Different Cattleya Orchid Plants One Price ~Sale~ Noids in 4" Baskets5 Different Cattleya Orchid Plants One Price ~Sale~ Noids in 4" Baskets $28.00
Bulbophyllum-mandibulare- Beautiful-Orchid-flower-An d-Plant-Easy-To-Grow BulbopBulbophyllum-mandibulare- Beautiful-Orchid-flower-An d-Plant-Easy-To-Grow Bulbop $15.50 Epidendrum radicans orchid plantsEpidendrum radicans orchid plants $15.00
Phalaenopsis equestris v. apari (Pink Lip) , 4 Spikes, 4 growths, speciesPhalaenopsis equestris v. apari (Pink Lip) , 4 Spikes, 4 growths, species $27.00 Phalaenopsis Orchid Hybrid Buena Jewel Cross -In Flower And BudPhalaenopsis Orchid Hybrid Buena Jewel Cross -In Flower And Bud $39.99
Shell planter for orchid, fern, cactus & small plant 34 cShell planter for orchid, fern, cactus & small plant 34 c $4.71 Schomburgkia tibicinis Orchid Species Flask 20 Large Seedlings With Gr8 RootsSchomburgkia tibicinis Orchid Species Flask 20 Large Seedlings With Gr8 Roots $60.00
Botanica Ltd. Laelia fidelensis *Blooming Sized Division* Species Orchid PlantBotanica Ltd. Laelia fidelensis *Blooming Sized Division* Species Orchid Plant $19.99 Schomburgkia thomsoniana var. aurea Bloom size Mounted Large SpeciesSchomburgkia thomsoniana var. aurea Bloom size Mounted Large Species $130.00
Dendrobium wassellii Bloom size Mounted tree fern Nice SpeciesDendrobium wassellii Bloom size Mounted tree fern Nice Species $15.00 Bulbophyllum cornutum Tw-4530 MBulbophyllum cornutum Tw-4530 M $35.00
Phalaenopsis Zheng Min Etching x Tying Shin Fly Eagle - In FlowerPhalaenopsis Zheng Min Etching x Tying Shin Fly Eagle - In Flower $75.00 Blc. Young-Min Orange "Golden Satisfaction" Cattleya Blooming Size Orchid PlantBlc. Young-Min Orange "Golden Satisfaction" Cattleya Blooming Size Orchid Plant $29.00
Blc Fortunes Height 'Frilly' Cattleya Fragrant Orchid PlantBlc Fortunes Height 'Frilly' Cattleya Fragrant Orchid Plant $16.05 Lc. Cg Roebling 'Beachview'Lc. Cg Roebling 'Beachview' $49.99
Bl. Yellow Bird orchid plant divisionBl. Yellow Bird orchid plant division $8.50 Phalaenopsis Tracy Moseley Fragrant Orchid -(Tzu Chiang Dance x Texas Jewel)Phalaenopsis Tracy Moseley Fragrant Orchid -(Tzu Chiang Dance x Texas Jewel) $44.99
Ornithopera radicans, orchid speciesOrnithopera radicans, orchid species $11.00 Electric Water Heater-Used In Orchid & Greenhouse Growers-Fixed Price-Buy It NowElectric Water Heater-Used In Orchid & Greenhouse Growers-Fixed Price-Buy It Now $25.00
Cattleya warscewiczii Michael x Orquifellajos #1 Orchid Plant SpeciesCattleya warscewiczii Michael x Orquifellajos #1 Orchid Plant Species $18.50 Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica,4 Spikes - Big Blooms, beautiful color & patternPhalaenopsis hieroglyphica,4 Spikes - Big Blooms, beautiful color & pattern $30.00
Phalaenopsis kunstleri, 2 Fans, 2 Spikes - species orchid, unique shaped bloomsPhalaenopsis kunstleri, 2 Fans, 2 Spikes - species orchid, unique shaped blooms $33.00 Fragrant Mini Brachypeza Semiteretifolia Orchid Species Blooms Any Time Of YearFragrant Mini Brachypeza Semiteretifolia Orchid Species Blooms Any Time Of Year $30.40 Was: Previous Price $38.00
Big Phalaenopsis schilleriana, beautiful mottled leaves, species orchidBig Phalaenopsis schilleriana, beautiful mottled leaves, species orchid $35.00 Dendrobium Kingianum, Orchid, Purple, Exotic Import, Blooming size in 3"potDendrobium Kingianum, Orchid, Purple, Exotic Import, Blooming size in 3"pot $16.99
Botanica Ltd. Aerangis distincta mount *Bloom Size* Choice Species Orchid PlantBotanica Ltd. Aerangis distincta mount *Bloom Size* Choice Species Orchid Plant $44.99 Phalaenopsis Ld's Bear Queen In Flower - 1Phalaenopsis Ld's Bear Queen In Flower - 1 $125.00
Phalaenopsis, Sequential Bloomer, Blooming 2 spikes FragrantPhalaenopsis, Sequential Bloomer, Blooming 2 spikes Fragrant $21.00 Blc Rustic Spots Mounted Orchid Bs 4-Bulb Division $9.99 Nr!Blc Rustic Spots Mounted Orchid Bs 4-Bulb Division $9.99 Nr! $9.99
Bin-Trichoglottis fasciata - Easy to grow! Blooming size! collector's item! NiceBin-Trichoglottis fasciata - Easy to grow! Blooming size! collector's item! Nice $45.99 Spathoglottis Plicata, lavender natural species.Spathoglottis Plicata, lavender natural species. $17.50
Huge Phalaenopsis bellina 'Blue Taiwan' x bellina 'Blue Krull' - 2 spikesHuge Phalaenopsis bellina 'Blue Taiwan' x bellina 'Blue Krull' - 2 spikes $37.09 Botanica Ltd. Paphiopedilum callosum *Great First Slipper* Species Orchid PlantBotanica Ltd. Paphiopedilum callosum *Great First Slipper* Species Orchid Plant $19.99
Bamboo planter for orchid succulent fern air plant hanging plant uBamboo planter for orchid succulent fern air plant hanging plant u $12.00 NoId Rhynchostylis OrchidNoId Rhynchostylis Orchid $39.99
Rare Florida Ghost Orchid Species Dendrophylax lindenii mini tube flask 3-5 pltRare Florida Ghost Orchid Species Dendrophylax lindenii mini tube flask 3-5 plt $60.00 New Laminar Flow Cabinet, Clean Bench Fume Hood Orchid, Data Recovery AustraliaNew Laminar Flow Cabinet, Clean Bench Fume Hood Orchid, Data Recovery Australia $4,500.00
Dendrobium moschatum Den Species Orchid Plant Blooming Size Rare and Unusual!Dendrobium moschatum Den Species Orchid Plant Blooming Size Rare and Unusual! $5.50
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Prices current as of last update, 09/24/17 3:28pm.

See also...
Cattleya Orchid, Orchids, Plants, Seeds & Bulbs, Gardening & Plants
Orchid Plant, Orchids, Plants, Seeds & Bulbs, Gardening & Plants

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