With around 28,000 species, Orchidaceae, commonly known as the orchid family, is the largest family of flowering plants. New orchid plants are being discovered continuously, but around 3,000 of the species are currently under taxonomic dispute. Orchids are not only the oldest type of flowering plant on Earth, but they also make up approximately 6-11% of all seed plants. The largest genera of orchids include Bulbophyllum with about 2,000 species, Epidendrum with more than 1,000 species, Dendrobium with about 1,400 species, and Pleurothallis with about 1,000 species. Additionally, the orchid family encompasses the Vanilla orchid and many cultivated orchids such as the Cattleya orchid.

orchid flower

Orchid plants are easily recognizable as they are among the most popular types of plants in the world. Although people may not be able to identify the specific type of orchid, they can easily tell it is an orchid by its distinct appearance. This popularity is largely due to the exquisite and long-lasting beauty of the orchid flower, which exudes a delicate and exotic elegance. Thus, orchid plants are often selected as perfect gifts for various occasions because of their graceful appearance.

In their natural habitat, most orchid species thrive in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and South America. However, these plants are adaptable and can grow in almost any part of the world except for extremely arid deserts and Polar Regions. This widespread adaptability allows orchids to be cultivated easily, contributing to their popularity as a plant.

orchid flower 2

Orchid cultivation is relatively easy, and they can grow in almost any climate, despite being commonly associated with tropical regions. The most popular orchid species include the Phalaenopsis orchid, also known as the Moth orchid, Cymbidium orchids, and the Dendrobium orchid. The Vanilla orchid, which produces vanilla beans, is the most highly cultivated species of orchid.

Many orchids are epiphytes, growing attached to trees. They secure themselves in the crotches of branches or wrap their roots around the limbs of trees, extracting nutrients from patches of moss and detritus in crevices while absorbing moisture from the atmosphere. Some orchids are saprophytes, lacking chlorophyll to photosynthesize and relying on other means of obtaining energy. These types of orchids are incredibly beautiful but challenging to cultivate. Many orchids are terrestrial or semi-terrestrial, growing from the ground level with roots extending into the soil from underground rhizomes and tubers.

While many types of orchids have uniquely shaped blooms, the orchid flower generally follows a common pattern. The petals form two groups or whorls of three each. All the petals in the outer whorl are similar in shape, and two of the petals in the inner whorl are usually similar to those in the outer whorl, differing only in size. The lowest petal, the third of the inner whorl, also known as the lip, is distinctively shaped from all the other petals. For more information on the orchid flower’s structure, refer to “Orchid Biological Structure.”

orchid flower

Orchids in different epochs

The ancient Greeks associated orchids with virility, while in Victorian England, they became a symbol of luxury and were highly valued as ornamental plants. Orchids have also been attributed with healing and protective properties, with the Aztecs using a mixture of Vanilla orchid and chocolate to increase strength and the Chinese using orchids to treat respiratory ailments.

We will provide insights into orchids, including growing and caring for these beautiful plants.

Different types of Orchids

Orchid species are classified based on the climate conditions that they require for optimal growth and survival. These categories include cool-climate orchids, intermediate-climate orchids, and warm-climate orchids. Within these categories, specific orchid plants are organized according to their respective climate preferences.


  • Brassia orchids
  • Coelogyne orchids
  • Cymbidium orchids
  • Cypripedium orchids
  • Disa orchid
  • Diuris orchids
  • Epipactus orchids
  • Goodyera orchids
  • Ludisia orchids
  • Masdevallia orchids
  • Odontoglossum orchids
  • Pleione orchids
  • Pterostylis orchids
  • Spiranthes orchids
  • Zygopetalum orchids


  • Anguloa orchids
  • Brachypetalums orchids
  • Bulbophyllum orchids
  • Cirrhopetalum orchids
  • Cochlopetalum orchids
  • Dendrobium orchids
  • Lycaste orchids
  • Maudiae orchids
  • Miltonia orchids
  • Miltoniopsis orchids
  • Oncidium orchids
  • Parsvisepalum orchids


  • Ansellia africana orchids
  • Aerangis orchids
  • Angraecum orchids
  • Ascocenda orchids
  • Calanthe orchids
  • Catasetum orchids
  • Cattleya orchids
  • Paphiopedilum orchids
  • Phalaenopsis orchids
  • Phragmipedium orchids
  • Vanda orchids
  • Vanilla orchids

Certain orchid species, such as the Dendrobium orchid, have a broader range of climatic tolerances and cannot be solely categorized under one specific climatic classification.

If you are interested in learning more about orchids, we have created various informative articles available.

The Biological Structure Of Orchids
Orchid Care – Caring for Orchids
Orchid Life Cycle