Orchids

Posted by Kerry Meier on October 8, 2013 |

What are these amazing flowers, and where do they come from?

Many orchids originated in South America, but many are also native to Australia, and South east Asia.

The roots of these plants were gathered by herbalists as they contain high levels of carbohydrates and alkaloids and were prized for their curative powers.

In commercial use, they are valued for their long arching form, bright colours and long – lasting flowers.  I have had people tell me that the very last bud had finally opened on an orchid stem that I had placed in an arrangement for them – 3 months after they first received their flowers!

Because orchids have many forms and shapes, they become very user-friendly for events like weddings, table centres, corsages, arrangements, bunches and much more.  They are a very versatile flower, and they create the feeling that you are in the tropics, breathing in the sunny atmosphere!

My personal favourite is the vanda, a flat faced orchid that can grow without any soil, in fact, they are commonly grown by hanging them from the ceiling of a greenhouse and tying them to a bit of wire!

The large and small styles of Cattleya are often scented and have large showy flowers (not as long lasting as some of the other types of orchid), but are beautiful in wedding bouquets.

Cymbidium orchids are also a large or small flower, longer lasting than the Cattleya flowers, but no scent.  They usually prefer a cooler climate so do not often grow in the north. Very popular for weddings or for making a big impact in arrangements.

Slipper Orchids are a more unusual style of flower.  Not so easy to grow in Bowen, as is attested by the local orchid society, although one member has devoted himself to this particular style of flower and has had amazing results.

Phalaenopsis or moth orchid.  Possibly the most popular orchid flower for weddings, and a must for beach weddings.  They are a fairly sturdy flower, long lasting and quite a large flat face area (on the larger styles).

Dendrobium or Singapore orchids.  These are probably the most commonly used in floristry because of their longevity.  They come in an amazing variety of colours and are possibly the best known of the orchid family.

 

There are so many more types of orchid that I can tell you about, but who would believe that some will spit their pollen sacs at you if you touch their flowers? or that some have flowers so small that you can hardly see them, although they are each a perfect replica of the larger and more showy flowers, that some are tiny plants with large numbers of flowers, or that some are large plants with very few, small flowers.

There is a huge amount of information about orchids and so much more that we don’t know.  Fortunately, there are also lots of people who are interested enough to keep exploring the possibilities!

 

 

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