Friday, February 19, 2010


Here's the last few shots of some beautiful hybrid orchids from Adore Florist in Noho. Most plant enthusiasts probably know that the orchid family, orchidaceae, is the largest family of flowering plants. There are, approximately, 880 genera and 22,000 species of orchid.

I'm guessing that these beautiful fuchsia stems are hybrids of the Vanda orchids, as Vandas may have magenta flowers, take easily to hybridization, and are popular among florists. But with all those genera to chose from, I'm only hazarding a guess. I love orchids, but only as much as the next person. Someday, when I live elsewhere than New York City (and thus have light and can avoid the searingly dry heat that comes with steam-powered radiators every winter) I will experiment further with orchid care. For now, I'm focused on keeping spider plants and sanseveria alive.

When I was a kid living in Malaysia, we had orchids - mostly Oncidiums, I think - growing in the trees of our yard. Like most of the orchids in subtropical or tropical regions, these plants were epiphytes; that is, they lived in the canopies of trees, benefitting from the canopy's microclimate without detriment to the host tree (just like the previously-mentioned Spanish moss).

Orchids in temperate regions are usually terrestrial, so New York natives like Platanthera and Spiranthes appear quite different from the orchids we see in flower shops. What groups such seemingly different looking plants into Orchidaceae are several characteristics: they are monocots (more primitive flowering plants that exhibit parallel veins); they have one modified petal that's called a lip or labellum; and finally, the reproductive parts of the orchid's flower are fused into one column (similar to, but different from the staminal columns of, for instance, Hibiscus).