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There is probably no person on earth who can remain indifferent to orchids. These flowers immediately conquer the heart with their beauty. The variety of orchids is huge and each of the varieties is beautiful in its own way. In addition, this plant can adapt to different climatic conditions.
Where did this wonderful flower come from, when flowers appeared in Europe, and also why some species growing in the wild are listed in the Red Book - read on.
Where does this wonderful flower come from?
This question is difficult to answer, because orchids grow in all parts of our planet, except for the North and South Poles and the desert. There are more than 35 thousand species of orchids in the world, there are more than 500 of them in Russia alone.
This flower can adapt to different climatic conditions, but still most of all it loves a humid and warm climate, so scientists say that most likely the homeland of orchids is the tropics of South America. There is a beautiful legend that this flower was formed from fragments of a rainbow.
The Chinese believe that the orchid is capable of driving evil spirits out of the house.
Scientists distinguish 4 groups of orchids depending on the habitat.
This group includes flowers that grow in South and Central America and Africa. It has a warm and humid climate (the average air temperature is 30 degrees Celsius, and the humidity is over 60%).
Mainly here epiphytic species of orchids grow, which cling to the roots of trees. Thus, they are able to get moisture from the air. The most common variety here is Dendrobium, which is distinguished by bright colors of various shades. There can be from four to eight pieces.
This is the largest group of orchids. Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil and Argentina have the largest number of orchid species in the world due to high humidity. But it's not as hot here as it is on the Equator.
Those who were in Thailand saw how many orchids there are in this country. They can be found everywhere:
- on the trees;
- on stones;
- in the mountains.
Even the cities are filled with wild-growing orchids.
The most striking representative of mountain forest orchids is Cattleya. It has creeping roots that allow it to cling to rocks and trees. It can reach a height of 150 cm and have up to 20 large flowers on the stem. Cattleya grows well at home.
These plants live in the plateaus of the globe. It is not so warm and humid here, but the orchid has adapted to these conditions.
An example is the spotted orchis, which received this name because of the brown spots on the leaves. It has very beautiful purple or purple leaves.
This is the smallest group of orchids. They grow in temperate latitudes, in the southern and central regions of Russia. it perennial plants with a well-developed root systemthat allows them to survive cold winters. Their flowers are much smaller than those of tropical orchids, but they are also very beautiful.
Knowing the origin of the orchid and the conditions for its growth in the wild, the following conditions must be observed when caring for a home orchid: a temperature of at least 18-20 degrees Celsius, sufficient watering, good lighting and ventilation of the room.
How and at what time did flowers appear in Europe?
The flower was first brought to Europe in the 18th century. Travelers more and more often discovered new countries and continents and brought exotic plants with them.
According to legend, an English botanist received a parcel from the Bahamas, where there was a shriveled, almost withered flower. He planted the plant in a pot, began to water. After a while, it released beautiful pink flowers. It was a tropical orchid.
The orchid took root in Europe for a long time. It was only in the 19th century that they learned to grow this flower in greenhouses. It was necessary to create suitable conditions for the plant, choosing the right temperature and ensuring a constant flow of fresh air. And it was not so easy to do. Moreover, science at that time knew little about all the methods of reproduction of orchids.
The fashion for this flower was introduced by Princess Augusta, the mother of King George II. She founded botanical gardens in England. They contained many orchids, which were looked after by the gardener Joseph Bucks.
People paid huge sums of money to get the orchid. Whole expeditions went to the jungle, which brought a large number of these flowers to Europe on ships.
Orchid is the leader among all plants in terms of the number of varieties. Surprisingly, to this day, scientists have discovered hitherto unknown species of these flowers. Many new varieties have been bred by breeders. It all started in England.
The story goes that an English gardener began experimenting with Cattleya guttata and Cattleya loddighesi seeds. This is how the first instance of the hybrid Cattleya appeared. After that, many orchid hybrids were bred, and they all admire with their beauty.
There are four main types of orchids:
- saprophytic or herbaceous;
- The former live on other plants and trees, but at the same time they are not parasites like lianas, because they do not harm another plant and do not take nutrients from it. Everything they need, and even moisture, they take from the air.
- The latter grow on stones and rocks. They were found even at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level.
- Unlike the previous two, saprophytic orchids cannot be grown at home. This species does not have leaves; instead, the stem is covered with scales. At the end of the shoot is a flower in the form of a brush. These orchids have underground roots that take moisture and nutrients from the humus substrate.
- And the most popular type of indoor plants is phalaenopsis. They are loved for the fact that they bloom brightly and for a long time. A feature of this species is the presence of aerial roots and the absence of tubers or false bulbs. In the wild, phalaenopsis can grow both in the highlands and in the plains. They love rainforests.
Is this plant protected?
Some species of orchids growing in the wild are endangered. Human activities have led to the deforestation of forests in which these plants are found. Back in the 19th century, people began to think that orchids needed protection. The first protected plant was the Venus slipper. 35 species of orchids are included in the Red Book of Russia.
Many countries are trying to preserve wild species of this plant in botanical gardens, parks and reserves. In 1973, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna was signed in Washington. According to this document orchids are protected by international organizations.
It is possible to trade in orchids only if there is a permit to export the plant from the country of origin and a permit to import it into another country.
An orchid is not only an interior decoration. Psychologists say that admiring the flowers of this amazing plant helps in the fight against depression and stress.