about orchid > classification, vegetative, | habitat: terrestrial, saprophytes, epiphytes, lithophytes |, flowering

habitat: epiphytes & lithophytes

 

Majority of the orchids however are epiphytes and they are congested into sub-families Epidendroideae and Vandoideae. It is difficult to separate lithophytes from epiphytes because the difference is only the substrate on which they adhere to. On many accounts, epiphytes can be lithophytes too under the right condition. Some epiphytes, for instance from the genus Coelogyne can be terrestrial too, especially after the branch on which they are adhered to becomes unable to support their weight, break and fall onto the ground. In this context however, the orchids are growing on soil organic surface as adherence substrate rather than its root penetrating the soil. Hardy as some Coelogyne can be, their flowers in contrast are some of the most beautiful, gregarious and softly textured, usually accompanied with sweet scent. Some orchids however have preference for rock surface as substrate, such as the Porpax elwesii that may be considered as true lithophytes.
 
Other pretty epiphytes are endless list of Eria, Dendrobium and Bulbophyllum that form the largest sub-family of all, the Epidendroideae. Species from these genus come with ecstatic value, the latter especially noted for its strange architecture, such as similarity to cat whiskers, old man’s beard and other indescribable and unimaginable features. Not only they look 'unique', some are smelly too! Dendrobium has given rise to countless beautiful hybrids as they are hardy and easy to cultivate.
 
Epiphytes in Vandoideae cover all extremes. Here we have the largest orchid in the world, Grammatophyllum speciosum, commonly called the ‘tiger orchid'. On the other extreme, Chiloschista has very small leaves of few millimeters, but Taeniophyllum has none, making it possibly the smallest orchid in the world. Photosynthesis is taken over by the chlorophyllous roots instead. Here we also have the very famous and hardy Vanda and its allies Arachnis, Ascocentrum, Renanthera and Papilionanthe that give rise to some of the most dazzling display of colors, shapes and sizes. The ‘foxtails’ or Aerides are popular for breeding hybrids for its color and fragrance. The short stemmed and broad leafed elegant Phalaenopsis are also very popular in cultivation and breeding program for its flowers’ delicate texture, shape, color, fragrance and floriferous nature. Others in the sub-family are exotic.

see also

 

- habitat: saprophytes

- habitat: terrestrial

- orchid flowering

 

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