What are called orchids? What are the features of orchids?« Back to Questions List

Orchids are plants with showy flowers. Flowers are the most important product of orchids. Orchids are known to be the largest family of flowering plants. There are numerous varieties of orchid plants. There are about 30,000 species growing in the wild and over 150,000 man- made hybrids. They grow on ground (terrestrials) or as epiphytes (growing over other trees) in the wild.


orchid, flowering, plant


The important feature of an orchid which distinguishes it from other plants is the structure of their flowers. Orchids exhibit an incredible range of diversity in size, shape and color of their flowers. All orchids have the same basic form of flower – three petal like sepals, three petals (one is different from the other) and a thick column composed of fused male and female reproductive parts from the centre of the blossom. Instead of having a separate male and female organs (stamen, pistil), they are combined into a single structure called the column.
All orchids are plants that do not have any permanent woody structure. They lack root hairs and are dependent on fungi living on their roots for absorbing moisture and minerals. The same fungi play a vital role in an orchid’s birth. Orchid seeds cannot grow in the soil which does not contain appropriate fungus. The fungus plays an essential role in breaking down complex substances into simple sugars needed by the baby plant. Orchid species manufacture their own food but some live on dead
organic material or helped to obtain nourishment by a fungus living in their roots.


orchid, flower, plant


In terms of size, the Madagascar orchid is the biggest. The orchids are of high ornamental value and their beautiful flowers fetch a very high price in the international market.


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