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Orchids have become extremely popular among flower growers due to their inherent beauty and grace.
People are used to decorating houses and apartments with these flowers, but few know how and where an orchid grows in the wild.
This article describes in detail orchids that germinate in the wild and surprise with their beauty.
What types and colors are there?
Today botany knows about 30 thousand species of these plants... In the wild, orchids pollinate rather quickly and reproduce with the help of other flowers. This is the reason for their continuous modification - more and more new hybrids appear, the true number of which is not known for certain.
However, in the broadest classification of orchids, there are three main types:
Saprophytic orchids are a kind of "underground" inhabitants: they do not have green leaves, consist of one shoot, which is covered with small scales and ends in a brush with flowers. This species is devoid of chlorophyll and feeds exclusively on decaying organic matter from other plants or animals.
A distinctive feature of saprophytic orchids is the impossibility of creating new root shoots, and they absorb water over the entire surface of the humus substrate.
Epiphytic or "airy" orchids form, perhaps, a numerous species. These flowers grow on trees, rocks and mountains, using them as a support. Epiphytes cannot be called parasitic plants in any way. Actually, this type has become widespread among flower growers, tk. was adapted by humans for home cultivation.
The terrestrial type of orchid includes bulbous flowers.... This plant is a peculiar system of perennial shoots, consisting of rhizomes and stems with leaves.
By the way, on the territory of Russia, all natural orchids are extremely rare and endangered plants listed in the Red Book.
In the wild, you will find all sorts of color options for orchids:
- even patterned.
The only color that is not in their natural palette is blue. Purple orchid is also extremely rare, as this color invariably goes in combination with yellow, white or orange shades of the main color of the plant.
Black is not natural for orchids (as well as for roses and other flowers). This color of the flower is the merit of the breeder, and not of nature: plants do not have a gene that would be responsible for such a pigment.
Where and on what do they grow in natural conditions?
If we talk about the "places of residence" of these plants, it is worth again starting from their species. Saprophytic orchids grow underground. The root system of this species outwardly distantly resembles a coral reef, and all The plant receives food from the soil, which is rich enough in the necessary substances.
Epiphytic orchids have thin stems, which prevents them from standing upright on their own. It is for this reason that they "settle" to the trees. The main feature of epiphytes is aerial roots and long creeping stems, capable of absorbing sunlight and moisture from the environment.
The extracted moisture and nutrients of epiphytic orchids are stored in dense loose leaves and roots. So, many growers are puzzled by the problem of leaves falling from a plant. This is directly related to their peculiarity. Frequent and excessive watering oversaturated the leaves, and the plant sheds them.
Terrestrial species do not settle on trees, but prefer meadows, hillsides, fallen tree trunks overgrown with mosses and lichens in shady forests. Often, they form an unusual continuous carpet of hundreds of shoots.
In the photo you can see where these flowers grow in wildlife, how they look on trees and in other habitats.
In what climatic zones are they found?
City dwellers are accustomed to perceiving the orchid exclusively as a home "ward" and, probably, that is why these charming flowers are classified as exotic, growing in hot tropical countries.
In fact, orchids are extremely hardy and adapt easily to all climates, not counting arid or too cold regions. With the exception of Antarctica, these plants can be encountered absolutely on all continents.
Scientists say that about 50 species of orchids grow on the territory of the countries of the former USSR.
Rainforests are famous for the richest variety of these beautiful flowers. Still would! It is here that the most comfortable growing conditions for orchids are created:
- high humidity;
- excellent air circulation;
- protection from the scorching sun.
The overwhelming majority here are epiphytic orchids.
Terrestrial perennials are often found in temperate countries, however, there are not so many of them - about 75 varieties.
Since the area of growth of orchids in nature is quite wide (in other words, it grows almost everywhere), botanists have introduced their conditional division in accordance with climatic zones. These groups look something like this:
- Central and South America, Africa, as well as other areas located near the equator (the principles of unification are a humid and warm climate in which all wild orchids feel great).
- Southeast Asia, as well as mountain forests and rocky areas (Andes, Brazilian mountains). It is not so hot here, but the humidity remains very high, so almost all varieties of orchids are found.
- Steppes and plateaus. In such difficult conditions, as a rule, terrestrial species and a small part of epiphytes grow.
- Areas with a temperate climate (only terrestrial orchids grow in very limited numbers).
Plant life cycle
The lifespan of almost all orchid species is very long. So, the average age of these plants is 60 - 80 years. It is curious that among orchids there are centenarians - in some cases, the flower can grow for more than a century.
The natural way of propagation of orchids is by seed. The delicate aroma and beauty of the flowers attract insects, which produce pollination of the flowers. When the flowering of the orchid comes to an end, an oblong box with seeds appears on the peduncle.
Under natural conditions, some types of orchids form babies on peduncles or aerial roots. Small outgrowths usually appear when a part of the plant is damaged by animals.
What is the difference from a home flower?
The main distinguishing feature of indoor orchids from wild ones is the variety of varieties of selected specimens. Under natural conditions, orchids need certain environmental criteria, which are difficult for a person to achieve in his home. At first, flower growers tried to reproduce them, but the breeders offered their way out - the creation of new, adapted varieties.
Also domestic and wild orchids are distinguished by their lifespan... So, in nature, some species live for more than 70 years, but a domesticated plant lives no more than 10.
The lush flowering that can be achieved with proper plant care is an advantage of breeders. Most domesticated specimens are capable of blooming 2-3 times a year, and wild cousins often bloom only in the summer season.
Orchids are a kind of cosmopolitan flora. They can be found in different parts of the Earth, on almost all continents. Fragrant and bright, they make our planet even more beautiful and richer. Take a closer look, perhaps somewhere along the way you will meet a wild orchid.