The orchid family (Orchidaceae
) contains more species than any other family of flowering plants except for the Daisies (Asteraceae
). There are over 1.500 genera in the orchid family with over 30.000 species and still growing. Orchids are not like any other flowers, you can not look at them and immediately tell what they are, like a rose, tulip or even daisies. The strange looking flowers are sometimes hard to distinguish as an orchid.
As a rule orchids have three things in common, 3 petals, 3 sepals, and a column where the reproductive organs of the 3 stamen and 3 pistils are fused together. No other flowers have this structure
. Sounds easy doesn't it? But of course there are orchids that make even that rule difficult to follow like the Paphiopedilum
species which combine two petals into a pouch, so it looks like one petal.
It is no wonder you can find some of the strangest plants in the plant kingdom in this family. Let's explore the fascinating family of the Orchidaceae and see what strange plants we can find.
Western Australia has some of the strangest orchids in the world. Epiblema grandiflorum
, also known as the "Blue-Babe-in-a-cradle" spends most of it's life submerged underwater.
one of the "Warty Hammer Orchids" grows under Kunzea ericifloia
bushes. One of the most bizarre-looking orchid in this genus is Drakaea glyptodon
. The labellum is large and it is very hard to tell it is an orchid. It is the color of raw meat and the fragrance it produces smells like raw meat. All species in this genus have 4 pollinia and are pollinated by male wasps.
nicknamed "Purdie's Donkey Orchid" or "Double Tails" as it is called in Australia, both flower only after summer bush fires.