By Lee Dobbins
There are over 30,000 species of orchids making it the largest family and the plant world. These fabulous flowering plants are known for their gorgeous flowers that come in all colors. Although they can grow in many places, orchids love tropical climates where they grow on trees trunks and branches.
In Australia, orchids grow in the southern region and can be found growing on tree trunks as well as in the ground. Australia boasts about 1200 orchid species many of which are not found anywhere else in the world.
Many of the Australian orchids have adapted some specialized methods of enticing insects over for pollination. The Drakonorchis Barbarossa or common dragon orchid looks like a wingless female wasp and therefore is very attractive to male wasps.
These specialized orchids are so interesting that scientists at the CPBR study these orchids which are sent to them by licensed collectors of Australian orchids. This national herbarium orchid collection consists of 48,000 dried specimens 18,005 hundred cards which contain the affected pieces of flowers and over 19,000 Spirit preserved orchid specimens.
Some of the interesting Australian orchids include the Durabaculum Nindii or endangered blue orchid which is native to North Eastern Queensland, the dotted Sun orchid, the nodding green hood, the tongue orchid, and the cowslip orchid to name but a few.
In Australia, you will find epiphytes which grow on trees as well as terrestrials which grown around. The ratio is about 70% terrestrial to 30% epiphytes. Epiphytes are the easiest to grow in the most common in orchid collections.
Western Australia is home to mostly terrestrial orchids which are well-known for their size, bright color and strange markings. These dainty fragile flowers fascinate most everyone who sees them. Some of these orchids like those of the endemic genus Rhizanthella live their whole lives underground.
Orchids are great plants and make an unusual gift whether they are given as a live potted plant or in a vase with other flowers. If you have a green thumb, you might even try growing your own markets if you can provide them with enough humidity and proper nutrients you may be successful not matter where you live in the world.