probably think about interesting bugs, astounding mammals, and
fantastic fish: anything but orchids. Orchids are more complex and
interesting than you think, with traits such as a huge size range and
thousands of distinct species. Often two members of the Orchidaceae
family look drastically different, making them a stellar example of
biodiversity in the wild.
are more types of orchids than there are any other type of plant in the
entire world. The orchid family, Orchidaceae, has over 25,000 unique
species, each with its own set of traits.
range in size from the weight of a nickel to an entire ton. Imagine a
flower with individual petals that each measure 30 inches long. Orchids
also come in a huge range of color variations, and grow in most climate
of plants live for a year, a few years or a decade or two at most.
Orchids blow those lifespan estimates out of the water, with some
species reaching ages up to 100 years.
have a biological trait called bilateral symmetry, which means that
both sides of the flower are identical to each other. Plenty of animals
have this evolutionary trait, including human beings!
takes cunning and wit to survive in the tropics, where many flower
species compete for pollination by native insects. Orchids use
camouflage to trick flying insects into cross-pollinating, ensuring the
survival of each species.
native Aztecs once harvested orchids and used parts of the plant to
make an adhesive glue. Who knew that orchids could be a useful crafting