Orchid in time and space
Orchids are shrouded in mystery even today. Since the time of ancient China, orchids were cultivated for their beauty and symbolized friendship, perfection, nobleness and femininity. Confucius was a well-known admirer of the perfume of these plants. In Europe, “Orchidmania” started only in the 18th and 19th centuries, when noblemen competed for the most beautiful and special plants. Central heating offered simple people the possibility to grow and love these flowers too. Meanwhile, it was noticed that orchids were adapting much easier to the environment of a room than any other exotic plants.
Orchids are not parasite plants. They are epiphytic and use the trees just to grow on their trunks and in the treetops. From this point of view, Orchids are much like Bromelias and Tilandsias
By the way they grow orchids can be parted into two groups:
Some grow from a stem and are developing a root mainly at the stem base. Leaves grow to the left and right of the stem and flowers in the middle of the leaves. This way of growth is called “monopodial”. Examples of such orchids are the Phalaenopsis and the Vanda.
|Other orchids have more than one stem. After one stem has developed enough, at its base, another one appears. The roots grow at the base of those stems and flowers can appear at the top, the side and at the base of the stems. This way of growth is called “sympodial” and examples of such plants are the Cattleya, Dendrobium and Paphiopedilum.|
Orchids can be grown by anyone. When buying an orchid, one has to pay attention especially to the environment in which that orchid will have to live (light, temperature and humidity). There are about 30000 species of orchids and 120000 species of hybrids, with varied forms and colours (except black). Most of the hybrids are bred in such a way that they can be grown in houses and apartments too.
The most famous orchid is Vanilla Planifolia which gives the vanilla taste. This is a tropical orchid which can become enormous (in length and weight). The longest orchid can be up to 20 meters in length.
Orchids are not necessarily exotic. They grow in environments such as Siberia, Alaska, the Mexican deserts or the Columbian Andes. We can find them even in Europe and in Romania too. There are even too species of indigenous Australian orchids which grow underground. It is told that they are so rare, that colour pictures with them are not available. In fact, orchids grow in any environment from hot to cold, from dry to very humid. Every continent has its own orchid flora.
There are orchids even in Romania, some even threatened by extinction. Most of them grow on meadows and in swampy grounds. The destruction of the meadows (by building Villas for example) automatically leads to the disappearance of these small wonders of nature. It is time to become aware of the treasures that we have and protect them.
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