Fossil range: Late Cretaceous- Recent

Scientific classification

Orchidaceae, also called the Orchid family, is the largest family of the flowering plants (Angiospermae). Its name is derived from the genus Orchis.

The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew list 880 genera and nearly 22,000 accepted species, but the exact number is unknown since classification differs greatly in the academic world. About 800 new species are added each year. The largest genera are Bulbophyllum (2,000 species), Epidendrum (1,500 species), Dendrobium (1,400 species) and Pleurothallis (1,000 species). The family also includes the Vanilla (the genus of the vanilla plant), Orchis (type genus) and many commonly cultivated plants like some Phalaenopsis or Cattleya.

Moreover, since the introduction of tropical species in the 19th century, horticulturists have more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.


Orchidaceae are cosmopolitan, occurring in almost every habitat apart from deserts and glaciers. The great majority are to be found in the tropics, mostly Asia, South America and Central America. They are found above the Arctic Circle, in southern Patagonia and even on Macquarie Island, close to Antarctica.

The following list gives a rough overview of their distribution:
  • tropical America: 300 to 350 genera
  • tropical Asia: 250 to 300 genera
  • tropical Africa: 125 to 150 genera
  • Oceania: 50 to 70 genera
  • Europe and temperate Asia: 40 to 60 genera
  • North America: 20 to 30 genera


This family is universally recognised, and the APG II system, of 2003, places it in the order Asparagales.

The taxonomy of this family is in constant flux, as new studies give more and more information.

Five subfamilies are now recognised:
  • Apostasioideae: 2 genera and 16 species, south-western Asia
  • Cypripedioideae: 5 genera and 130 species, mostly from the temperate regions of the world, some in tropical America
  • Vanilloideae: 15 genera and 180 species, humid tropical and subtropical regions, eastern North America
  • Orchidoideae: 208 genera and 3630 species, cosmopolitan
  • Epidendroideae: more than 500 genera and more or less 20 000 species, cosmopolitan
This cladogram has been made according to the APG system:


A majority of species are perennial epiphytes; they are found in tropical moist broadleaf forests or mountains and subtropics. These are anchored on other plants, mostly trees, sometimes shrubs.

A few are lithophytes, growing naturally on rocks or on very rocky soil.

Others are terrestrial. This group includes nearly all temperate orchids.

Some orchids, like Neottia and Corallorhiza, lack chlorophyll and are myco-heterotrophs (formerly incorrectly called saprophytes). These achlorophyllous (i.e. nonphotosynthetic) orchids live on an ectomycorrhizal symbiosis and are completely dependent on soil fungi feeding on decaying plant matter, such as fallen leaves, to provide them nutrients.


Orchids are easily distinguished, as they share some very evident apomorphies. Among these: bilaterally symmetric (zygomorphic) and resupinate, a petal (labellum) is always highly modified, stamens and carpels are fused and the seeds are extremely small.


Like most monocots, orchids generally have simple leaves with parallel veins, although some Vanilloideae have a reticulate venation. They may be ovate, lanceolate, or orbiculate and very variable in size. Their characteristics are often diagnostic. They are normally alternate on the stem, often plicate, and have no stipules. Orchids leaves often have siliceous bodies called stegmata in the vascular bundle sheaths (not present in the Orchidoideae) and are fibrous.

The structure of the leaves corresponds to the specific habitat of the plant. Species that typically bask in sunlight, or grow on sites which can be occasionally very dry, have thick, leathery leaves and the laminas are covered by a waxy cuticle to retain their necessary water supply. Shade species, on the other hand, have long, thin leaves.

The leaves of most orchids are perennial, that is they live for several years, while others, especially those with plicate leaves, shed them annually and develop new leaves together with new pseudobulbs, as in Catasetum.

The leaves of some orchids are considered ornamental. The leaves of the Macodes sanderiana, a semiterrestrial or lithophyte, show a sparkling silver and gold veining on a light green background. The cordate leaves of Psychopsiella limminghei are light brownish green with maroon-puce markings, created by flower pigments. The attractive mottle of the leaves of Lady's Slippers from temperate zones (Paphiopedilum) is caused by uneven distribution of chlorophyll. Also Phalaenopsis schilleriana is a lovely pastel pink orchid with leaves spotted dark green and light green. The Jewel Orchid (Ludisia discolor) is grown more for its colorful leaves than its fairly inconspicuous white flowers.

Some orchids, as Polyrrhiza lindenii (Ghost Orchid), Aphyllorchis and Taeniophyllum depend on their green roots for photosynthesis and lack normally developed leaves, as of course do all of the heterotrophic species.

Stem and roots

All orchids are perennial herbs and lack any permanent woody structure. Orchids can grow according to two patterns:
  • Monopodial: The stems grows from a single bud, leaves are added from the apex each year and the stem grows longer accordingly. The stem of orchids with a monopodial growth can reach several meters in length, as in Vanda and Vanilla.
  • Sympodial: The plant produces a series of adjacent shoots which grow to a certain size, bloom and then stop growing, to be then replaced. Sympodial orchids grow laterally rather than vertically, following the surface of their support. The growth continues by development of new leads, with their own leaves and roots, sprouting from or next to those of the previous year, as in Cattleya. While a new lead is developing, the rhizome may start its growth again from a so-called 'eye', an undeveloped bud, thereby branching.
Terrestrial orchids may be rhizomatous or forme corms or tubers. The root caps of terrestrials are smooth and white.

Some sympodial terrestrials, such as Orchis and Ophrys, have two subterranean tuberous roots. One is used as a food reserve for wintery periods, and provides for the development of the other one, from which visible growth develops.

In warm and humid climates, many terrestrial orchids do not need pseudobulbs.

Epiphytic orchids have modified aerial roots that can sometimes be a few meters long. In the older parts of the roots, a modified spongy epidermis called velamen has the function to absorbe humidity. It is made of dead cells and can have a silvery-gray, white or brown appearance.

The cells of the root epidermis grow at a right angle to the axis of the root to allow them to get a firm grasp on their support. Nutrients mainly come from animal droppings on their supporting tree.

The base of the stem of sympodial epiphytes, or in some species essentially the entire stem, may be thickened to form what is called a pseudobulb that contains nutrients and water for drier periods.

The pseudobulb has a smooth surface with lengthwise grooves and can have different shapes, often conical or oblong. Its size is very variable; in Bulbophyllum (black orchids) it is no longer than two millimeters, while in the largest orchid in the world, Grammatophyllum speciosum (giant orchid), it can reach three meters. Some Dendrobium have long, canelike pseudobulbs with short, rounded leaves over the whole length, some other orchids have hidden or extremely small pseudobulbs, completely included inside the leaves.

With ageing the pseudobulb sheds its leaves and becomes dormant. At this stage it is often called a backbulb. A pseudobulb then takes over, exploiting the last reserves accumulated in the backbulb, which eventually dies off too. A pseudobulb typically lives for about five years.


Enlarge picture
Dactylorhiza sambucina, Orchidoideae for reference
Orchidaceae are well known for the many structural variations in their flowers.

Some orchids have single flowers but most have a racemose inflorescence, sometimes with a large number of flowers. The flowering stem can be basal, that is produced from the base of the tuber, like in Cymbidium, apical, meaning it grows from the apex of the main stem, like in Cattleya, or axillary, from the leaf axil, as in Vanda.

As an apomorphy of the clade, orchid flowers are primitively zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetrical), although in some genera like Mormodes, Ludisia, Macodes this kind of symmetry may be difficut to notice.

The orchid flower, like most flowers of monocots has two wholrs of sterile elements. The outer whorl has three sepals and three petals are in the inner whorl. The sepals are usually very similar to the petals (an thus called tepals, 1), but may be completely distinct.

The upper medial petal, called the labellum or lip (6),, is always modified and enlarged. The inferior ovary (7) or the pedicel is rotated 180 degrees, so that the labellum, goes on the lower part of the flower, thus becoming suitable to form a platform for pollinators. This characteristic, called the resupination occours primitively in the family and is considered apomorphic (the torsion of the ovary is very evident from the picture). Some orchids have secondarily lost the resupination, like some ''Zygopetalum'.

The normal form of the sepals can be found in Cattleya, where they form a triangle. In Paphiopedilum (Venus slippers) the lower two sepals are fused together into a synsepal, while the lip has taken the form of a slipper. In Masdevallia all the sepals are fused.

Orchid flowers with abnormal numbers of petals or lips are called peloric. Peloria is a genetic trait, but its expression is environmentally influenced and may appear random.

Orchid flowers primitively had three stamens, but this situation is now limited to the genus Neuwiedia. Apostasia and the Cypripedioideae have two stamens, the central one being strile and reduced to a staminode. All of the other orchids, the clade called Monandria, retain only the central stamen, the others being reduced to staminodes (4). The filaments of the stamens are always adnate (fused) to the style to form cylindrical structure called the gynostemium or column (2). In the primitive Apostasioideae this fusion is only partial, in the Vanilloideae it is more deep, while in Orchidoideae and Epidendroideae it is total. The stigma (9) is very asymmetrical as all of its lobes are bent towards the centre of the flower and lay on the bottom of the column.

Pollen is released as single grains, like in most other plants, in the Apostasioideae, Cypripedioideae and Vanilloideae. In the other subfamilies, that comprise the great majority of orchids, the anther (3), carries and two pollinia.

A pollinium is a waxy mass of pollen grains held together by the glue-like alkaloid viscin, containing both cellulosic stands and mucopolysaccharides. Each pollinium is connected to a a filament which can take the form of a caudicle, like in Dactylorhiza or Habenaria or a stipe, like in Vanda. Caudicles or stipes hold the pollinia to the viscidium, a sticky pad which sticks the pollinia to the body of pollinators.

At the upper edge of the stigma of single-anthered orchids, in front of the anther cap, there is the rostellum (5), a slender extension involved in the complex pollination mechanism.

As aforementioned, the ovary is always inferior (located behind the flower). It is three-carpelate and one or, more rarely, three-partitioned, with parietal placentation (axile in the Apostasioideae).


Orchids have developed highly specialized pollination systems and thus the chances of being pollinated are often scarce. This is why orchid flowers usually remain receptive for very long periods and why most orchids deliver pollen in a single mass: each time pollination succeeds thousands of ovules can be fertilized.

Pollinators are often visually attracted by the shape and colours of the labellum. The flowers may produce attractive odours. Although absent in most species, nectar may be produced in a spur (8) of the labellum, on the point of the sepals or in the septa of the ovary, the most typical position amongst the Asparagales.

In orchids that produce pollinia, pollination happens as some variant of the following. When the pollinator enters into the flower, it touches a viscidium, which promptly sticks to its body, generally on the head or abdomen. While leaving the flower, it pulls the pollinium out of the anther, as it is connected to the viscidium by the caudicle or stipe. The caudicle then bends and the pollinium is moved forewords and downwards. When the pollinator enters another flower of the same species, the pollinium has taken such position that it will stick to the stigma of the second flower, just below the rostellum, pollinating it. The possessors of orchids may be able to reproduce the process with a pencil or similar device.

Enlarge picture
Ophrys apifera is about to self-pollinate
Some orchids mainly or totally rely on self-pollination, especially in colder regions where pollinators are particularly rare. The caudicles may dry up if the flower hasn't been visited by any pollinator and the pollina then fall directly on the stigma. Otherwise the anther may rotate and then enter the stigma cavity of the flower (as in ''Holcoglossum amesianum).

The labellum of the Cypripedioideae is poke-shaped and has the function to trap visiting insects. The only exit leads to the anthers that deposit pollen on the visitor.

In some extremely specialized orchids, like the Eurasian genus Ophrys, the labellum is adapted to have a colour, shape and odour which attracts male insects via mimicry of a receptive female. Pollination happens as the insect attempts to mate with flowers.

Many neotropical orchids are pollinated by male orchid bees, which visit the flowers to gather volatile chemicals they require to synthesize pheromonal attractants. Each type of orchid places the pollinia on a different body part of a different species of bee, so as to enforce proper cross-pollination.

An underground orchid in Australia, Rhizanthella slateri, never sees the light of day and depends on ants and other terrestrial insects to pollinate it.

Catasetum, a genus discussed briefly by Darwin actually launches its viscid pollinia with explosive force when an insect touches a seta.

After pollination the sepals and petals fade and wilt, but they usually remain attached to the ovary.

Asexual reproduction

Some species, as some Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium and Vanda, produce offshoots or plantlets formed from one of the nodes along the stem, through the accumulation of growth hormones at that point. These shoots are known as keiki.

Fruits and seeds

Enlarge picture
Cross-section of an orchid capsule, the longitudinal slits
The ovary typically develops into a capsule that is dehiscent by 3 or 6 longitudinal slits, while remaining closed at both ends. The ripening of a capsule can take 2 to 18 months.

The seeds are generally almost microscopic and very numerous, in most species over a million per capsule. After ripening they blow off like dust particles or spores. They lack endosperm and must enter symbiotic relationship with various mycorrhizal basidiomyceteous fungi that provide them the necessary nutrients to germinate, so that all orchid species are mycoheterotrophic during germination and reliant upon fungi to complete their lifecycle.

As the chance for a seed to meet a fitting fungus is very small, only a minute fraction of all the seeds released grow into an adult plant. Germination can take up to fifteen years.

Horticultural techniques have been devised for germinating seeds on a nutrient-containing gel, eliminating the requirement of the fungus for germination, greatly aiding the propagation of ornamental orchids.


A study in the scientific journal Nature [1] has shown that the origin of orchids goes back much longer than originally expected. A fossilized stingless bee Proplebeia dominicana, an extinct species trapped in Miocene amber about 15-20 million years ago, carried pollen of the orchid Meliorchis caribea (a new genus and species, as of this study) on its wings. This indicates that orchids may have an ancient origin and have arisen 76 to 84 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous, in other words : they may have co-existed with dinosaurs. It shows also that at that time, insects were already active pollinators of orchids.

Using the so-called molecular clock method, scientist were able to determine the age of the major branches of the orchid family. This also confirmed that the subfamily Vanilloideae is a branch at the basal dichotomy of the monandrous orchids, and must have evolved very early in the evolution of the family. Since this genus occurs worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions, from tropical America to tropical Asia, New Guinea and West Africa, and the continents began to split about 100 million years ago, significant biotic exchange must have occurred after this split (since the age of Vanilla is estimated at 60 to 70 million years).

Up to this find, recovered by a private collector in the Dominican Republic in 2000, there was no definite fossil record of orchids

The extinct orchid M. caribea has been placed within the extant tribe Cranichideae, subtribe Goodyerinae (subfamily Orchidoideae).


Further information: Vanilla
One orchid genus, Vanilla, is commercially important, used as a foodstuff flavouring.

The underground tubers of terrestrial orchids (mainly Orchis mascula) are ground to a powder and used for cooking, such as in the hot beverage salep or the so-called "fox-testicle ice cream" salepi dondurma.

The scent of orchids is frequently analysed by perfumists (using Gas-liquid chromatography) to identify potential fragrance chemicals.

The only other important use of orchids is their cultivation for the enjoyment of the flowers (see also Botanical orchids).

Most cultivated orchids are tropical or subtropical, but quite a few which grow in colder climates can be found on the market. Temperate species available at nurseries include Ophrys apifera (bee orchid), Gymnadenia conopsea (fragrant orchid), Anacamptis pyramidalis (pyramidal orchid) and Dactylorhiza fuchsii (common spotted orchid).

Amongst the most common orchids found in "casual" culture we count

Taiwan, the biggest orchid exporter in the world, establishes the Taiwan Orchid Plantation, a science-based industrial park, in 2004, to explore novel ways of growing and distributing orchids (see also botanical orchids). The renowned Taiwanese International Orchid Show, usually held in early March each year, is amongst the top three orchid exhibition in the world [1]. Taiwan is particularly famous for the production of Phalaenopsis, and is a member of the International Phalaenopsis Alliance (IPA). The Taiwan Orchid Growers Association (TOGA), a NPO established in 2001, acts as a bridge between the government and the local orchid producers and distributors.

The National Orchid Garden in the Singapore Botanic Gardens is considered by some to be among the finest collections of orchids in cultivation open to the public.

Orchids, like tulips, have become a major market throughout the world. Buyers now bid hundreds of dollars on new hybrids or improved ones. Because of their apparent ease in hybridization, they are now becoming one of the most popular cut-flowers on the market.


The following are amongst the most notable genera in the very large orchid family.

Aa; Abdominea; Acampe; Acanthephippium; Aceratorchis; Acianthus; Acineta; Acrorchis; Ada; Aerangis; Aeranthes; Aerides; Aganisia; Agrostophyllum; Amitostigma; Anacamptis; Ancistrochilus; Angraecum; Anguloa; Ansellia; Aorchis; Aplectrum; Arethusa; Armodorum; Ascocenda; Ascocentrum; Ascoglossum; Australorchis; Auxopus; Baptistonia; Barbrodia; Barkeria; Barlia; Bartholina; Beloglottis; Biermannia; Bletilla; Brassavola; Brassia; Bulbophyllum; Calypso; Catasetum; Cattleya; Cirrhopetalum; Cleisostoma; Clowesia; Coelogyne; Coryanthes; Cymbidium; Cyrtopodium; Cypripedium; Dactylorhiza; Dendrobium; Disa; Dracula; Encyclia; Epidendrum; Epipactis; Eria; Eulophia; Gongora; Goodyera; Grammatophyllum; Gymnadenia; Habenaria; Herschelia; Laelia; Lepanthes; Liparis; Ludisia; Lycaste; Masdevallia; Maxillaria; Meliorchis, Mexipedium; Miltonia; Mormodes; Odontoglossum; Oncidium; Ophrys; Orchis; Paphiopedilum; Paraphalaenopsis; Peristeria; Phaius; Phalaenopsis; Pholidota; Phragmipedium; Platanthera; Pleione; Pleurothallis; Promenaea; Pterostylis; Renanthera; Renantherella; Restrepia; Restrepiella; Rhynchostylis; Saccolabium; Sarcochilus; Satyrium; Selenipedium; Serapias; Sophronitis; Spiranthes; Stanhopea; Stelis; Thrixspermum; Trias; Trichocentrum; Trichoglottis; Vanda; Vanilla; Zeuxine; Zygopetalum.

Image gallery

Dockritillia teretifolia, an epiphyte orchid.

Corallorhyza maculata, a myco-heterotroph

Cephalanthera longifolia, e terrestrial orchid

Leaves of different species of orchids

Habenaria radiata. Note the lip

Pterostylis coccinea, a highly specialized shape

Neuwiedia griffithii, Apostasioideae. Note the three normal stamens.

Cypripedium acaule has two stamens. One can be seen from the picture, the other is on the other side

Catasetum fimbriatum. The seta is evident.

Holcoglossum kimballianum

Dactylorhiza sambucina in two different colours

Vanilla planifolia, the vanilla flower

Vanilla plant (the climber)

Bulbophyllum putidum

Cattleya intermedia

Cultivated Epidendrum ciliare

Dracula vampira, an orchid with a funny name

Listera ovata, a less showy orchid

Vanda tricolor var. suavis

Oncidium papilio

See also


1. ^ Santiago R. Ramírez, Barbara Gravendeel, Rodrigo B. Singer, Charles R. Marshall & Naomi E. Pierce (30 August 2007). "Dating the origin of the Orchidaceae from a fossil orchid with its pollinator". Nature 448. 


  • Walter S. Judd, Christopher S. Campbell, Elizabeth A. Kellogg, Peter F. Stevens, Michael J. Donoghue: Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach, Sinauer Associates Inc. 2007
  • Batygina, T. B., Bragina, E. A., and Vasilyeva, E. 2003. The reproductive system and germination in orchids. Acta Biol. Cracov. ser. Bot. 45: 21-34.
  • Berg Pana, H. 2005. Handbuch der Orchideen-Namen. Dictionary of Orchid Names. Dizionario dei nomi delle orchidee. Ulmer, Stuttgart
  • Kreutz, C. A. J. 2004. Kompendium der Europaischen Orchideen. Catalogue of European Orchids. Kreutz Publishers, Landgraaf, Netherlands
  • Ramírez, S., et al. Nature 448 , 1042- 1045 (2007).
  • D. Lee Taylor and Thomas D. Bruns : Ectomycorrhizal mutualism by two nonphotosynthetic orchids; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; Vol. 94, pp. 4510-4515, April 1997 (on line).
  • Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 7, May 2006 [and more or less continuously updated since]. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/
  • Strasburger, Noll, Schenck, Schimper: Lehrbuch der Botanik für Hochschulen. 4. Auflage, Gustav Fischer, Jena 1900, p. 459
<references />

External links

Orchid has several meanings:
  • Orchidaceae, the family of orchid plants
  • Orchid, Florida, a town in the United States
  • Orchid, The International School, Hyderabad, in India
  • Orchid (color), a light purple color

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Late Cretaceous (100mya - 65mya) refers to the second half of the Cretaceous Period, named after the famous white chalk cliffs of southern England, which date from this time. Rocks deposited during the Late Cretaceous Period are referred to as the Upper Cretaceous Series.
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Ernst Haeckel

Born January 16 1834(1834--)

Died July 9 1919 (aged 85)


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Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms of Nature) is a book of lithographic and autotype prints by German biologist Ernst Haeckel. Originally published in sets of ten between 1899 and 1904 and as a complete volume in 1904, it consists of 100 prints of various organisms,
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Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. Scientific classification also can be called scientific taxonomy, but should be distinguished from folk taxonomy, which lacks scientific basis.
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Haeckel, 1866[1]


Green algae
  • Chlorophyta
  • Charophyta
Land plants (embryophytes)
  • Non-vascular land plants (bryophytes)

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Magnoliopsida - Dicots
Liliopsida - Monocots

The flowering plants or angiosperms are the most widespread group of land plants. The flowering plants and the gymnosperms comprise the two extant groups of seed plants.
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about 10; see text

Monocotyledons or monocots are one of two major groups of flowering plants (angiosperms) that are traditionally recognized, dicotyledons or dicots being the other.
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See text

Asparagales is an order of flowering plants. The order must include the family Asparagaceae, but other families included in the order have varied markedly between different classifications.
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Antoine Laurent de Jussieu

Born March 12 1748(1748--)
Lyon, France
Died September 17 1836 (aged 88)
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The subfamily Apostasioideae belongs to the orchid family (Orchidaceae).

It is a clade, but there is bootstrap support that it is a sister to the other orchid subfamilies.
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See Taxonomy of the orchid family.

Lady Slippers (aka Lady's Slipper, Lady's-slipper, Ladyslipper) is a term used to describe the orchids in the subfamily Cypripedioidea, which includes the genera
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See text.


The Epidendroideae, or epidendroid orchids, are a subfamily of the orchid family (Orchidaceae).
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See text.
The Orchidoideae, or the orchidoid orchids, are a subfamily of the orchid family (Orchidaceae).

They typically contain the orchids with a single (monandrous), fertile anther which is erect and basitonic.
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  • Poginiinae
  • Vanillinae

Vanilloideae (Lindley) Szlachetko, is one of the subfamilies of orchids belonging to the large family Orchidaceae.
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family (Latin: familia, plural familiae) is a rank, or a taxon in that rank. Exact details of formal nomenclature depend on the Nomenclature Code which applies.
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Magnoliopsida - Dicots
Liliopsida - Monocots

The flowering plants or angiosperms are the most widespread group of land plants. The flowering plants and the gymnosperms comprise the two extant groups of seed plants.
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Tourn. ex L. 1753

Type species
Orchis militaris
L. Sp. Pl.: 943, 1753

See text

Orchis is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae).
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Royal Botanical Gardens might refer to:
  • Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario in Canada.
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the United Kingdom.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne in Australia.

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genus (plural: genera) is part of the Latinized name for an organism. It is a name which reflects the classification of the organism by grouping it with other closely similar organisms.
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species is one of the basic units of biological classification. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring.
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Thouars, 1822


List of Bulbophyllum species
1805 species, including:
Bulb. barbigerum (Bearded Bulbophylllum)
Bulb. beccarii
Bulb. crassulifolium (Wheat-leaved Bulbophyllum)
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L., 1763

Type species
Epidendrum nocturnum
Jacq., 1760

About 1,100 species - See List of Epidendrum species.
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Sw, 1799


1190 species;
see List of Dendrobium species

Dendrobium Swartz is a large genus of tropical orchids that consists of about 1200 species.
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R. Br., 1813


More than 1200, see text

Pleurothallis, or the bonnet orchid, is a genus of orchids.
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Vanilla is a flavouring derived from orchids in the genus Vanilla native to Mexico. The name came from the Spanish word "vainilla", meaning "little pod".
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V. planifolia

Binomial name
Vanilla planifolia

Vanilla planifolia is a species of vanilla. It is one of the primary sources for vanilla flavouring, due to its high vanillin content.
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Tourn. ex L. 1753

Type species
Orchis militaris
L. Sp. Pl.: 943, 1753

See text

Orchis is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae).
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Blume 1825

Type species
Phalaenopsis amabilis
Blume, (1825)


See text.

Phalaenopsis (Blume 1825) is a genus of approximately 60 species of orchids (family Orchidaceae).
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See text.

Cattleya is a genus of 42 species of orchids from Costa Rica to tropical South America.
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