1- The Orchid Family
Almost everyone has heard of orchids. Most people associate them to an exotic plant of great beauty and difficult care , at least in a domestic environment .
Beyond the popular tags , orchids are one of the largest families of plants in the Plant Kingdom . There are over 30,000 known and about 60,000 hybrid species produced by horticulturists . These numbers are increasing every year to discover new varieties.
Most of them live in tropical rain forests and warm weather at altitudes ranging between 800 and 2,000 meters or more. However, we can find some variety in any corner of the world, from the plains to high mountain elevations . Extend over the whole area of South America , Africa , Australia , northern New Zealand and there are varieties in the Arctic Circle. In Europe also tend to be indigenous varieties although its flowers do not quite reach the beauty and sophistication of their tropical relatives.
Traditionally, orchids have been subdivided into three groups according to their roots.
The land type are rooted into the same land.
Epiphytes are the largest group. They are characterized by the roots usually develop on the branches of trees or other plants that serve as physical support. That is not a parasitic growth on the tree, but the orquids use them just to get a foothold in the middle of their habitat and achieve better conditions of light and aeration. They took the food that they need directly from the rain and sliding around the bush dragging different nutrients.
Finally lithophytes varieties consisting of all those who use the rocks to grow and develop.
2- Crops and Utilities
Orchids are grown mainly for the beauty and appeal of their flowers. However, an orchid ( Vanilla planifolia ) is especially rewarding because it obtaines Vanilla, one of the flavor of ice cream and cakes from around the world.
There are also plants of this peculiar family that have been traditionally used by different people for medicinal purposes and relieve ailments of different kinds.
In Turkey, it is traditional to use the starch tubers of the species satirión orchis and ophry holosericea for making a beverage called " salep " . The salep has preventive and healing properties for colds , diarrhea , improves appetite , increases our vital energy and has aphrodisiac properties attributed , among others.
Finally also noted its use in cosmetics. Its use has spread over many centuries in Asia and has recently been given to know the rest of the world.
Extract of the flowers of Blue Orchid (Orchis Mascula ) and Cymbidium grandiflorum is used . They are suitable for all skin types. Both have moisturizing , protective and restorative properties , effective against free radicals, increase the immunity of the skin , reduce the appearance of wrinkles and are rich in minerals like calcium, iron , zinc , magnesium and copper.
3- A bit of History
The mystique has surrounded orchids as seen in many antique prints, especially China and Japan.
The Japanese admire orchids and know the techniques of cultivation since the eighth century. The Chinese, for their part, were the first who left evidence of their existence both graphically and in writing. Specifically the oldest record corresponds to a Cymbidium.
The hobby of growing orchids in modern times probably began in the early eighteenth century expeditions for collection funded European fans potentates. The delicate constitution of most orchids and harsh conditions of the sea voyage that lasted for weeks and even months, meant that only a small number of them could come alive to Europe. Of this for, the value of the orchids increased considerably.
The height of growing orchids was not made until 1891, year in which a large number of Cattleya labiata which together with a median survival higher due to faster traffic was discovered, they made it possible more copies that arrived in good condition.
Today, the different species that form part of this extended family, and thanks to extensive research about cultivation and reproduction, they are produced in large quantities and anyone can access them at an affordable price.
4 - Patterns of Growth
Most orchids have one of the two normal growth patterns in these plants : the sympodial or monopodial .
On the one hand, the sympodial growth ( Cymbidium, Miltonia ) is the most common . The plant develops from several stems or pseudobulbs . Every year, since the stem base of the previous year, a new stem is originated called guide. Usually only the youngest pseudobulb produces floral stem .
On the other hand, plants that use the monopodial growth (Paphiopedilum , Phalaenopsis ) are characterized by having a single main stem that does not originate from the new base, but is adding new leaves upward. The floral stems and the air roots appear of between the leaves.
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