Orchidaceae is a very large family that contains at least 20,000 species and 735 genera, distributed throughout the world except in the coldest areas, and most numerous in damp equatorial regions. The flowers are the most highly evolved of the plant kingdom. They have three sepals and three petals and sometimes grow singly, but more usually appear with other flowers on spikes, growing up one side of the main stem, or all around the main stem, which may be upright or drooping. The lowest petal of each flower, the lip, is usually large, and may be spurred, fringed, pouched, or crested. Orchid fruits are usually 1-chambered capsules with many very small seeds. Many tropical orchids are epiphytes – attached to trees but feeding independently on decayed plant and animal remains and rainwater – but temperate orchids commonly grow on the ground.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of the Orchid Family
General Key to Identify Genera of the Orchid Family
Plants lacking green stems and leaves, stems yellow
to reddish-brown, underground parts coral-like.................