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Photo: DIYNetwork.com
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Did you know that certain species of Orchid can survive up to 100 years?

And that Orchids have the largest variety of flowers with the number of officially documented species standing at an amazing 25,000 plus? With so much variety, it should be no surprise that there are some amazing facts about Orchids that are not widely known.

Except for areas with extreme hot or cold weather, Orchids practically grow everywhere in the world and scientist are discovering more new species as days go by.

1. "Orchis" meaning

The genus Orchis comes from an Ancient Greek word meaning “testicle”; because of the shape of the bulbous roots. The term “orchid”, which is just a shortened form of the family Orchidaceae, was not introduced until 1845.

2. The smallest orchid

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Photo: Orchidplantcare.com

The smallest orchid in the world features flowers that measure in at a little over 2mm wide. The flower petals are transparent and are only one cell thick. This teeny tiny orchid belongs to the Platystele genus, Orchidplantcare pointed out.

3. The smallest seeds

Orchid seeds are the smallest seeds in the world and are comparable to the size of a particle of dust. Each orchid seedpod can contain millions of orchid seeds. The minuscule size of the seeds make it incredibly difficult to propagate orchids in this manner.

4. Vanilla is a species of orchid.

Perhaps one of the most popular species of orchids, the "flat leafed" vanilla plant is also one of the most widespread. Horticulturalists all over Latin America cultivate the plant for its flavorful charms, Mirenda in Livescience said.

5. The size of orchids depends on the species.

They can be tiny as a penny or extremely large, weighing couple of hundred pounds. Grammatophyllum are medium-sized to very large orchids, including the giant orchid(Grammatophyllum speciosum), believed to be the largest orchid species in existence. Itspseudobulbscan grow to a length of 2.5 m. Plztystele jungermannioides, which is believed to be the smallest Orchid in the world grows a measly 2mm. Orchid Plants can develop into gigantic clusters weighing from several hundred kilograms to one ton. The roots form spectacular bundles, Flowerweb explained.

6. Orchid Roots are Unusual

If you’ve ever potted an orchid you already know that orchid roots are unusual and different from other plants. Even more finely rooted orchids are thick compared to the fine web of roots grown by other plants.

Orchid roots have a special covering called velamen. This sheath acts as a sponge absorbing water and nutrients for the orchid. For most orchids, the roots are green when newly hydrated, silver-green, or white when healthy, but dry.

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Photo: Pinterest.com

7. Orchids Are Found On Every Continent – Except Antarctica

While we usually traditionally think of orchids as a tropical plant, they are diverse. In fact, orchids grow on every continent, except Antarctica. Orchids grow everywhere from alpine meadows to sandy deserts.

To be fair, most cultivated orchids come from tropical, subtropical, and even cloud forest habitats. For many people, it is the cloud forest orchids that are the trickiest to grow. Typically, these orchids require high levels of humidity, cooler temperatures, and high light. Most cloud forest orchids are labeled cool-growers.

8. Some Orchids Smell Like Chocolate, Others Like Rotting Flesh

Did you know there is such a thing as a scented chocolate orchid? Being in a room with one of these orchids is like unwrapping your favorite chocolate bar. The scent is heavenly delicious–and they’re calorie-free! Just don’t eat it.

The most common Oncidium, ‘dancing lady’ has a lovely floral fragrance. ‘Twinkle’ another Oncidium has a nice vanilla fragrance. While many orchids have no fragrance at all, the orchid Bulbophyllum graveolens attract its pollinator, a fly, with the scent of rotting meat.

9. Orchids Are for Everyone

Fortunately, after decades of frustration and failure, a few discoveries have made the joy of orchids more attainable for all. First, we learned that orchids require a special fungus, mycorrhiza, to provide nutrients so that orchid seeds can germinate and grow.

Second, Lewis Knudson learned how to bypass the fungus with sterile agar, a gelatinous substance that provided the environment and the nutrients to successfully grow and germinate orchids.

Third, Georges Morel used the agar method to clone a Cymbidium. The ability to clone orchids using agar paved the way for the modern commercialization of orchids we know today.

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