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History of OrchidsHistory Of Orchids

Orchids are one of the most prolific flowering plants, becoming popular in Europe in the 18th century due to their unique qualities and rarity. It became a way to exhibit ones wealth and intellectual prowess . Before that orchids were strictly "out of bounds" being searched for and discovered by enthusiasts and orchid hunters  in Eastern climates and jungle conditions. 

The word Orchid is used to describe the huge Orchidace family, with varying sizes, shapes colours and even some scented varieties. There are now more than 50.000 different species of botanical orchids, 1600 of these orchids are of the Dendrobium genus. And there are possibly thousands of hybrids.

These amazing orchids plants have always fascinated us with their colour, beauty and even bizarre appearance. Orchids sizes and shapes vary from minute to large, dainty and fragrant to some almost "spider-like" orchids flowers and the occasional almost "ugly faced" orchids flowers. The Orchids we supply are predominately Dendrobiums, but we also import Mokara orchids, Arandas orchids and Ascocendas and occasionally Vanda orchids and Oncidium orchids.

 

Our Orchids 

All our Orchids are commercially grown on farms in Thailand with much of the early propagation and cultivation also done on site. New orchids varieties and species are being cultivated in greenhouses all the time now and what were once thought of as exotic,  untouchable and very expensive can now be introduced into all homes, either as cut orchids flowers or orchids plant to add an element of the exotics and style . Our orchids are of a high quaility and are reasonably priced they also  come with care instructions .

 

Most known cut orchids varieties:

 There are different varieties of cut orchids available: Cymbidium orchids, Phalaenopsis orchids, Vanda orchids, Cattleya orchids, Dendrobium orchids, Oncidium orchids, and Mokara orchids to name a few. 

 

Recognising Orchids:

Generally speaking orchids are easy to recognise. The orchids flowers has three petals and three sepals. The middle petal is also called the lip because of the way it protrudes. This is useful for insects that use it as a landing strip to access the inside of the orchids flower. The lip is often extravagantly coloured or marked in order to attract the desired species of insects.

 

Most orchids are cared for two to four years before they will flower. Only then they can be harvested. On the bright side: the older the orchids plant, the longer and fuller the orchids spray will be. The number of orchids flower bearing stems varies considerably from plant to plant. For example, a young orchids plant may have three sprays while a ten-year-old orchids plant could have fourteen. Exceptions have been known on orchids plants bearing more than 30 sprays of orchids flowers.

 

Colours of Orchids:

Orchids come in virtually all the colours of the rainbow including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet , brown, white and black  as well as  a huge range of shades, patterns  and combinations. Some orchids even have a metallic sheen . All of this just to catch the attention of specific insects.

 

The Orchid Flower Structure:

 

The structure of orchids flower is unique among floral plants. The orchid flower typically has an outer whorl of three sepals, an inner whorl of three petals, and a single large column (the gynostemium, composed of the male stamens attached to the female pistil) in the centre.

 

 

 Sepal:

The sepals are the protective cover of the Orchids flower bud. When the orchids flower opens, the sepals may become enlarged and coloured. In most orchids species, the sepals are equal size and look like petals. In some orchids species, however, the top sepal become very large and showy, the two lower sepals are sometimes fused into one structure, and in other orchids species all three sepals are fused forming a bell-shaped structure around the orchids flower. In some orchids species, the display of the sepals completely overwhelm the actual orchids flower.

 

Petal:

The two top petals flank the greatly enlarged flamboyant bottom petal (lip or labellum) which is usually highly modified to attract and in, some cases trap potential pollinators. The lip may be differently coloured or marked, ruffled or pouch shaped, decorated with crests, tails, horns, fans, warts, hairs, teeth, and other decorations which are attractive to their selected pollinator.

 

Pollination:

The orchid's reproductive organs are combined into a single column unlike the usually separate male stamen/anther and female pistil/stigma configuration of other orchids flowers. This is the primary identification feature of orchids. At the top of the column is the male anther which contains packets of pollen called pollinia. Below the anther is the stigma, a shallow, usually sticky cavity in which the pollen is placed for fertilization. There is a small growth, called the rostellum which acts as a protective barrier to prevent self pollenation. Some orchids species produce separate male and female flowers to prevent self pollination.

 

The overall orchids flower shape is characteristically bilaterally symmetrical ( the left and right halves of the blossom are mirror images), a necessity for reliable pollenation by bees.

 

In the bud stage, the lip is in the uppermost petal. In most orchids ( not all )  twist 180 degrees around its flower stalk as it opens to position the lip on the bottom. This unique process is called resupination. Some orchids flowers remain ''upside down'' or non-resupinate while other orchids flowers will rotate in a complete 360 degree circle ending back in the original upside position.

 

Many tropical species of orchids will rely on a single species of euglossine bee to pollinate them, and the bee will visit only that particular species of orchid. Some orchids species have established pollinator relationships with flies, gnats, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even bats.

Generally orchids have taken off in a big way and are here to stay !