What are Terrestrial Orchids?

Terrestrial orchids are plants which grow exclusively on land. They include all species of Epiphyllum (Epiphylla), Caryophylli (Caryophyllums) and Pteridosperms (Pteridium).

The term “Orchid” refers to any plant with flowers growing from underground stems. These plants have been known since ancient times and they were used for medicinal purposes.

Today, these plants are still used in traditional medicine and herbal remedies. However, there are many types of orchids including those grown in pots or in containers such as vases, cups and jars.

There are two main categories of terrestrial orchids: epiphytic and potted. Epiphytically, the plants grow only on land while potted plants grow in water.

Most orchids fall into both groups. Some orchid species do not form roots at all; instead they rely upon their leaves for support.

Epiphytic orchids develop aerial roots that are not used for support. Instead, they take nutrients from the air and from licking moisture.

These types of orchids grow on trees or other plants such as moss, ferns and decaying matter. These plants are often called “air plants.” They are commonly used to decorate homes and buildings. Certain epiphytic orchids have leaves, stems and roots.

Potted orchids are watered by placing them in water. These plants grow in containers such as cups and jars.

These orchids thrive in water, but they also need soil for support.

What Are Terrestrial Orchid Types?

There are three types of terrestrial orchids based on their physical characteristics:

There are also epiphytic orchids that grow on trees or other plants.

Sources & references used in this article:

Symbiotic germination of some Australian terrestrial orchids by JH Warcup – New Phytologist, 1973 – Wiley Online Library

Constraints to symbiotic germination of terrestrial orchid seed in a mediterranean bushland by AL Batty, KW Dixon, M Brundrett… – New …, 2001 – Wiley Online Library

Scientific approaches to Australian temperate terrestrial orchid conservation by MC Brundrett – Australian Journal of Botany, 2007 – CSIRO

Terrestrial orchids: from seed to mycotrophic plant by HN Rasmussen – 1995 – books.google.com

Terrestrial orchid conservation in the age of extinction by ND Swarts, KW Dixon – Annals of botany, 2009 – academic.oup.com

Demographic studies and life-history strategies of temperate terrestrial orchids as a basis for conservation by DF Whigham, JH Willems – Orchid conservation, 2003 – repository.si.edu

Seed ecology of dust seeds in situ: a new study technique and its application in terrestrial orchids by HN Rasmussen, DF Whigham – American journal of botany, 1993 – Wiley Online Library

Mutualistic mycorrhiza in orchids: evidence from plant–fungus carbon and nitrogen transfers in the green‐leaved terrestrial orchid Goodyera repens by DD Cameron, JR Leake, DJ Read – New Phytologist, 2006 – Wiley Online Library

Soil seed-bank dynamics of terrestrial orchids. by AL Batty, KW Dixon, K Sivasithamparam – Lindleyana, 2000 – cabdirect.org



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