One of the most exciting and beautiful types of flowers, the orchid, attracts a large following of hobbyists. Not only do these exotic blossoms appear in a wide variety of interesting colours, shapes and sizes, but many members of the Orchidaceae family also challenge the skills of gardeners.
A Fascinating History
The great naturalist Charles Darwin observed and wrote about numerous animals and plants, including the Orchid, a perennial. He worked during an era when collectors began searching for unusual and previously unknown types of Orchids, often vying with one another to locate and document especially rare or attractive varieties.
Even today, intense competition exists among enthusiasts to grow new Orchids. The Shenzhen Nongke Group spent eight years developing a hybrid Orchid which eventually became the most expensive flower. The rare plant sold at auction in 2005 for 1.68 million Yuan (an amount equivalent to slightly over $200,000.)
The Diversity of Orchids
Around the world, scientists today have identified between 25,000 and 30,000 different types of Orchids. These plants grow in the wild on every continent except Antarctica. They often perpetuate through division. Approximately 1700 different Orchids live in Australia.
Many Orchids prefer tropical climates. Some require highly specific environmental conditions in order to bloom. Others display flowers for only a limited period of time. In fact, Australian Orchids often require assistance from pollinating insects native to certain locales.
Perhaps not surprisingly, some types of exotic Orchids remain quite threatened in terms of survival. Yet reason for hope exists. After a devastating series of bush fires destroyed much of the plant’s native habitat, the rare Australian Spider Orchid re-surged in the wake of the disaster, blooming in ten times the anticipated population numbers during the two years following the blaze.
A Thoughtful Gift
Many people send loved ones or friends corsages of Orchid or Lily blossoms as gifts. Widely commercially available Orchid varieties also provide an excellent container plant present for people with advanced gardening skills, especially if the recipient maintains a greenhouse. Your local flower club should be able to offer advice about raising these beautiful,challenging plants.
Since Orchids remain one of the more expensive types of blossoms, they appear as cut flowers infrequently. Sending a cheerful floral bouquet composed of Orchids, or even other blossoms, will always convey a thoughtful sentiment, one which any Orchid lover would appreciate!