The Many Types of Orchids
Once you develop more than a passing interest in orchids, you will quickly notice how diverse this exotic plant family is. Encompassing genera that yield both the vanilla you love to bake with and fragrances you love to wear, each flower has unique characteristics and care requirements. Compare your plants to some of the most commonly cultivated orchids to help you determine what type of orchid you’re growing.
If you have a brassavola orchid like this one in your home or garden, you may smell it before you see it. The perfume that is released only in the evening and white color are indicative of many flowers that depend on moths for pollination.
If your Catasetum orchid leaves begin to yellow and drop off, don’t despair; this deciduous orchid loses its leaves naturally during winter dormancy. There is much variation in appearance between Catasetum species, but one feature they all have in common is the trait of producing male or female flowers, which bear little resemblance to each other. The male flowers bear an anatomical trigger that forcefully ejects pollen onto visiting bees.
Cattleya orchids have been widely hybridized, leading to a large variety of colors and forms. Many Cattleya orchids have appealing freckles, streaks, or other bicolor features. Some Cattleya orchids are quite fragrant, and they are the most popular corsage orchid.
This relative of the Cattleya orchid is also known as the swan orchid, as the elegant inflorescence of male flowers resembles a swan’s neck. As many as 30 spicily scented flowers may grow on one long-lived stem.
Cymbidium orchids may have small flowers compared to some orchid varieties, but their multiple flower spikes ensure a satisfying display. Good choices for beginners include the lime green ‘Chic,’ the yellow and red ‘Showoff,’ or the bright pink ‘Fare,’ all recipients of the American Orchid Society’s Highly Commended Certificate.
The top-heavy blooms of the Dendrobium orchid often require staking. With more than 1000 species included in this large orchid genus, the Dendrobium orchid defies easy categorization. The most common varieties you’ll find in the trade feature white, yellow, or lavender blooms.Continue to 8 of 21 below
Encyclia orchids, also called cockleshell orchids, thrive when planted on an orchid mount to simulate the epiphytic growing conditions of the wild. Some horticulturists say the Encyclia orchid looks an octopus because of its dangling petals and sepals. Although not fragrant, the Encyclia orchid can bloom for several consecutive months.