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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Orchid

The Orchidaceae or orchid have about 28,000 currently accepted species, distributed in about 763 genera.

Ecuador has 3459 species, the greatest number recorded.

The Victorians had a name for orchid mania-Orchidelirium-and they sailed uncharted seas to bring home new species.

The only places on earth orchids don't grow are Antarctica and the Gobi Desert.

High resolution image of orchid

Britain's rarest flower is the lady's slipper orchid: a single specimen grows on a Lancashire golf course under police surveillance.

Orchids have developed highly specialized pollination systems. For example, the Lady's Slipper can trap insects and make them pollinate the flower.

Another instance is an underground orchid in Australia, Rhizanthella slateri, which is never exposed to light, and depends on ants and other terrestrial insects to pollinate it.

The scent of the blunt-leaved orchid is chemically similar to human body odor, a trick the plant uses to attract mosquitoes for pollination.

The complex cross-pollination mechanisms were described by Charles Darwin in his 1862 book The Fertilisation of Orchids.

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