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|General information on Orchids|
|Orchids are highly specialized and largest group of flowering plants
of unique biology, and flowers of fantastic architectural beauty
and colour combinations
. They belong to the family Orchidaceae, consisting of about 35,000 wild species belonging to 800 genera and are distributed throughout the world.
7% of the total flowering plants belongs to Orchidaceae.
There is no exaggeration when it is said of orchids as a highly evolved group of plants, belonging to very widely separated families, in vegetative characters
than any other group but very distinct in floral morphology.
Hence, identification of orchids, in vegetative conditions
is rather impossible unless one is well acquainted with them earlier.
Nevertheless, a flowering specimen picked up from any part
of the world, from a tree or ground or decaying matter or even
underground can never be mistaken as to its identity
because of the unique morphology of the flower.
| Orchids are wild plants restricted in their distribution to the virgin forest areas and the number of individual plants representing each species is very much limited even in their original natural habitat owing to many known and unknown ecological and biological reasons. Hence, in spite of the fact that they form the largest group of flowering plants, they are quite uncommon to the common traffic of humanity. Thus, this paradoxical state has made cultivation of orchids as a challenging and interesting avocation.
It is interesting to note that the requirements of orchids for their optimal growth as compared to many other group of plants are very much limited.
Man has made more than 1,00,000 hybrids by inter- specific and multigeneric crosses an area where the fancy and effort never end.
|The name 'orchid'
has come from a Greek word orchis meaning testicle and had been given by Theophrastus(370-285 B.C),the Greek philosopher and a pupil of Plato, known as the father of botany. Fancied resembalance of the paired underground tubers of the common terrestrial orchids of the temperate region, to the testicles of the dog was the reason for him to give this epithet to this group of plants.
In India, we have about 1800 species belonging to 160 genera, in which about 300 species of 60 genera
belong to peninsular India and of which
Kerala fosters 252 species.
One-third are terrestrials and the rest, epiphytes.
There are epiphytic orchids without stems and leaves,
but only with roots (Teaniophyllum).
there are others with only green stems and roots but without leaves (Ceratostyllis). Leaves of epiphytic orchids are usually thick and limited in number and store water and food and with thick waxy cuticle to prevent excessive transpiration.
|Too many Pseuodos
Orchids are slow growing perennial herbs, well adapted for survival, overcoming all environmental hazards. Temperate orchids are mostly terrestrials with less attractive flowers, but with attributed medicinal efficacy for the under ground tubers.But orchids with very attractive flowers around only in tropical and subtropical rain forests which, were unknown to the father of botany. Anyway, it is quite unfortunate to have named this group of plants with enchanting and curious flowers, after the resemblance of the underground parts of the plant. There was a time especially in European countries, when people believed in the "Doctrine of Signatures", which means that Nature indicates in the morphology of the parts of plant,the potentiality of its utility.Thus, the tubers of orchids of temperate region were used for rejuvenation and regain vitality. Even now there are people who attribute aphrodisiac properties to the tubers and use them widely.
|ORCHIDS ANY WHERE
The diversity of habits and habitats is unparalleled and overwhelming.Majority of them are epiphytes (growing on other plants but not parasites), others are ground orchids- terrestrials, growing either on rocks (lithophytes) or on moist humus forest floor or on decaying matter (saprophytes) or near water sources or even as underground (subterranean)ones. So far,subterranean orchids are reported only from Australia belonging to the genera Khilonthella and Cryptanthemis. Epiphytic orchids are prolific in tropical and subtropical forest areas having high relative atmospheric humidity and temperature. In India, North Eastern Himalayas form the richest region of both epiphytic and terrestrial orchids numbering over 1800 species.The parents of the most prize winning hybrids of the early period hail from these regions. Dr.Joseph could collect 40 different species from a single felled tree in Arunachal Pradesh.
|GROWING ON TREES BUT NOT PARASITES
Stem of orchids also are modified as storage organs known as pseudobulbs. Roots of epiphytic and Lithophytic orchids are stout and then they are limited in number and greenish, either appressed to the substrata or host plants or free hanging. When the roots are thin.then, they are numerous.They absorb food from humid atmosphere and conduct photosynthesis as well and manufacture food like green leaves.The fact that the epiphytic orchids growing on other trees, have been successfully grown on dead logs or on heap of bricks and stones proves that they do not rob the host off the food for survival like parasitic plants(mistletoes), but use it only as a perch. Nevertheless the possibility of absorbing nutrients and moisture from the perch / substrata cannot be ruled out, but only never detrimental to the host plant in any way. Very many present day ornamental orchids belong to this category (Dendroblum, Phalaenopsis, Vanda etc).
|Back to HOME Oncidium Page Kerala Orchids Orchids India Orchid ART GALLERY|
|Aerides crispum of South India|
|Paphiopedilum drury,the only ladies slipper orchid in South India and found no where else in the world|
of norh Eastern Indian mountains
|Dendrobium densiflorum and
|Aerides ringens flowers|
|Orchids grown for ornamental cut flowers are all man made hybrids.
Thousands crosses are made within the genera of Vandas,Dendrobiums,Cymbidiums,paphiopedilums,Phalaenopsis, Cattleya and Oncidium.
The first hybrid was between Calanthe masuce and Calanthefurcata in 1856 by Domini. That was named as Calanthe Domini by the famous orchidologist John Lindley.
Unlike any other plant family orchids allow intergeneric crossings enabling man to produce many hbrids according to the requirement of the flower industry.
The first intergeneric hybrid was produced in 1863
crossing Cattleya mossiae and Laelia crispa.
The first trigeneric hybrid was created in 1892 crossing Sophronitis grandiflora
with the bi generic Laeliocattleya Schilleriana
|When you read Vanda tessellata-
it is species that is naturally occuring orchid.
When you read Vanda JohnClubb-
it is a hybrid
The first part of the name is the name of the genera ie.is Vanda
Second part of the name is the particular variety or hybrid and a specific one..
If it is a species the second name starts with small letter
ie as tessellata.
For all hybrids it will be a Capital letter
ie. as Johnclubb
|Some popular intergerics
Aranda = Arachnis X Vanda
Aranthera = Arachnis X Renanthera
Laeliocattleya = Laelia X Cattleya
Brassolaeliocattleya = Brassavola X Cattleya X Laelia
Potinara = brassavola X Laelia X Cattleya X Sophronitis
Ascocenda = Ascocentrum X Vanda
Mokara = Vanda X Arachnis X Ascocentrum
(Aranda X Ascocentrum) OR
(Ascocenda X Arachnis)
Kagawara = Ascocentrum X Renanthera X Vanda
Doritaenopsis = Doritis X Phalaenopsis
Renades = Renanthera X Aerides
Renanopsis = Renanthera X Vandopsis
|ORCHIDS ARE WONDERFUL WITH SHAPES OF ANIMALS, BIRDS, BEES,INSECTS AND EVEN MAN. ITS SEED CAPSULE CALLED POD CONTAINS CRORES OF POWDERY SEEDS WHICH WILL GERMINATE ONLY IN PRESENCE OF CERTAIN FUNGUS. NOW THEY ARE GERMINATED IN STERILE LABORATORY CONDITIONS|
the most beautiful orchid of South India
|Aranthera Mohammed Hannif
one of the leading cut flower orchid hybrid in use for the last fifty years.
a fleshy hybrid orchid flower