Types of Orchids : Classification of orchids
Orchids can be classified on different criteria. Mainly used criterions
for classification of orchids are (1) floral
features (2) on how they live and survive.
On the basis of definite floral features, orchids are divided into
different orchid tribes. Most interesting types
of orchids under this criteria are the Lady’s Slipper orchid
tribe, the Rein orchid tribe, the Bird’s Nest orchid tribe and the Tree
Lady's slipper orchid  Rein
According to the way they live and survive, there are three
types of orchids.
1. Epiphyte orchids
2. Terrestrial orchids
3. Lithophyte orchids
Epiphyte orchid plants
plants that have evolved to live upon
trees are epiphytes. They are not parasites but merely take advantage
of the tree as a support. Epiphyte orchids obtain their
nutrients from the moisture in the air and from any debris collected
on the branches or beneath mosses where their roots penetrate.
of this type
of orchids: Sophronitis Coccinea orchids
Scarlet flowers of the epiphytic Sophronitis Coccinea
orchid plants sparkle like bright gems on the trees oh high ridges of
the Brazilian coastal forest.
Terrestrial orchid plants
These orchid plants grow in the ground and there is hardly any area
on Earth where terrestrial orchids have not adapted
to grow. They are found in places as diverse as hot dry Australian deserts,
to the gentler climates of temperate woodlands, to the very edge of
of this type
(1) The fragrant Zygopetalum crinitum orchids are
found growing under the trees away from the Brazilian sunshine.
(2) Cypripedium calceolus, a lady’s slipper orchid,
is a terrestrial orchid found in Europe and North America.
(3) Stenoglottis fimbriata is a terrestrial
Lithophyte orchid plants
These orchid plants take a middle path between the above mentioned
two classes. Lithophyte orchids make their home on
rocky cliff faces and sometimes on near vertical slopes.
Lithophyte orchid plants obtain their nourishment
in a similar way to epiphyte orchids. But they sometime have to withstand
longer period of extreme dryness. Extra water and nutrients are obtained
from roots that penetrate into the crevices in the rocks.
Examples of this type
of orchids: (1) The species cytopodium andersoniae
grows mainly on smooth, flat rock surfaces.
(2) Other examples are the pleiones and some species
Exception: Some epiphytes can also become lithophytic when suitable