The requirements for the Orchids honor are as follows:
*NOTE: The following source is a supplier of cultivars and other materials:
The following should help you with your honor or just your knowledge of orchids:
1. Define the characteristics of an orchid.
2. What are the two main groupings of orchids according to their growth pattern? Name and show examples of each from an orchid or a picture of one.
There are two general types of orchids, one is Epiphytic and the other is Terrestrial. They have two general growth patterns which are monopodial & sympodial.
Monopodial: This is a plant that grows predominantly upwards from the bottom leaf upon leaf. For examples of the plants see Phalaenopsis and Vanda type orchids.
Sympodial: This is a plant that grows along a surface with a rhizome. The new growth is from a continuation of the rhizome. For examples see the Cattleya and Dendrobium type orchids such as the flower above.
3. What are the differences between epiphytic, parasitic, and saprophytic orchids?
Epiphytic Orchids, grow in trees (some in rocks also known as Lithophytes). They use the tree they are growing on as a host, similar to a pot or basket. They do not remove nourishment from the "host" only the water that washes across the roots. This is why you typically find them in the area where branches come together.
Parasitic Orchids, in short there are none.
Saprophytic Orchids, these are orchids that receive their nutrients from decaying matter. These are terrestrials.
4. Discuss the distribution of orchids, making particular reference to the occurrence of these in your area.
In Central Florida we are in an area that contains a wide variety of orchids. We are on the northern end of epiphytic orchids and have a large amount of terrestrials. In fact MOST of our local orchids are terrestrials. The farther south you go the more epiphytic orchids you will find. A few of the more common orchids you will find in Central Florida that we have photos of.
Central Florida Epiphytic:
Encyclia tampensis (FL Native)
Epidendrum conopseum (FL Native)
Central Florida Terrestrial:
5. Name the main cultivated genera of orchids. Identify three from an orchid or picture. What is cultivar*?
Cattleya, Cymbidium, Phalaenopsis, Vanda (Ascocenda and similar). A cultivar is a person like us that grow and sell orchids. Feel free to contact us for plants.
6. Discuss the main essentials to observe in the cultivation of orchids. Grow at least one orchid for at least six months.
See our Culture Pages and write if you have any specific questions you need additional assistance with.
7. What are the main uses of orchids? What orchid is used commercially?
Most know "Ice Cream and Flavorings". If a product is made with Vanilla it is made from an orchid that is the most commercially used. There are many types of vanilla but the 3 most commonly used commercial vanilla are:
With planifolia being the most used of all.
In some area in the world there are terrestrial orchid "tubulars" that are used as a source of food. Often ground up into a pulp and added to items.
Many orchids are used with corsages and bouquets you will find the Cymbidiums, Cattleya Dendrobiums and Phalaenopsis.
Let us know via e-mail if there is any additional help you could use. For Pathfinder/Adventurer club awards we will have easy to grow orchids available for a very reasonable fee. Please e-mail us the number of students and staff you have and your state and zip code. In Florida we have approximately 120 species of native orchids. There are FEW places in the world that some type of orchids does not live.