Monday, March 08, 2010


"The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life."

~ Jean Giraudoux

~ Orchid throat
(Phalaenopsis ~ 'Moth Orchid')

This is a brief description on Orchid plant anatomy.

Hopefully it will be helpful if you are new to growing orchids. The roots and stem form the bottom portion of our orchid plant. These absorbs and brings life needed nutrients to the plant. Sometimes, within the root system you may find the water absorption system of the orchid. These are called pseudobulbs. They are very efficient at absorbing and storing water. However not all orchids have pseudobulbs. Remember in the rain forests where some of the orchids grow the showers are usually quick.

Above the roots you will generally find a stem from which the leaves are born. The stems are quite sturdy in some orchids and are delicate in others, especially, the miniature orchids.

A healthy leaf is one that is firm, non-wrinkled, and bright green. It is not a dark green leave which usually means that the plant needs more light.

The spike is usually the bearer of the buds and eventually the flowers. Some spikes will produce one flower or cluster of flowers (e.g. Cattleya). The Phalaenopsis spike will produce flowers all along the spike in succession.

The most intricate parts of the orchid is the flower. There vary, not only in color but in shape as well. They all have the same parts but they vary as to where and the number on the orchid plant.

The sepal are usually three and they are the remnants of the orchid bud. There are generally three but some orchids may have two. The sepals are usually dorsal (back / top of the orchid) and two lateral ones.

The petals are always three in number. It is the bottom petal that is also called the "lip" or "labellum". It is here that forms a platform for the insects that pollinate orchids. It is also here where the most stunning orchid colors are. These colors will attract the pollinators. The Paphiopedilums or lady slippers have a deeper lip that almost resembles a sack.

As varied as the orchid species are you will see many different variations on the anatomy of the orchid plants.



Unknown said...

These are simply stunning shots! We're sharing a brain yet again, my dear friend. I'm also waxing on about orchids, though mostly just in photos right now. Somehow, three orchids followed me home this weekend, two phalaenopsis and one Paph. I don't know HOW that could have happened. :-)

joey said...

Indeed we both have orchids on the brain, jodi! Yours are stunning ... this pretty face is the best I have to show right now. The rest are not in bloom and my paph 'kicked the bucket' :(

Anonymous said...

Dear Joey, What am I to say? I do not believe that I have ever seen such beautiful photographs of orchids anywhere. White is my favourite colour and so these images are absolutely magical to me.

The final collage is simply wonderful. All of these pictures would translate into the most beautiful greeting cards as they are so professional.

I am inspired by your commentary to try with orchids as house plants once more. My success rate to date has been very poor indeed but I have noted carefully what you say.

Your postings give me immense pleasure. Thank you so much.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joey,

I am a step below being new to Orchids - I do not have any. But, I almost bought one yesterday.

Thanks so much for this timely post, you have pushed me over the edge. I am going to plunge in and buy my first orchid.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Joey, such an elegant bloom and you photograph it so well. What a pretty name, Moth Orchid, altho it doesn't much remind me of a moth.

Unknown said...

Joey... these are spectacular! I love irises, they are so pretty and complex!

Nothing ho-hum about this post!!! :o)

Christine B. said...

Very exotic looking indeed. And yet, for the life of me, I cannot grow them. I think it is a mental block but am unwilling to kill off one of the beauties and so end up giving them away.

Christine in Alaska

imac said...

Joey, you leave me breathless.
What wonderful macro shots.

lindalou said...

Truly spectacular photos. I know absolutely nothing about orchids other than they are beautiful.

I used to read Nero Wolfe stories years ago (mysteries) and Nero grew orchids. They were his love and his babies. That is my only exposure to orchids.

I really need to expand myself. Thanks for the primer.

joey said...

Oh please do give orchids another try, Edith. The blooms last for months and even if they never bloom again, they give great joy. Mine vacation outside during the summer, which seems to agree with them :)

With your green thumb, they will thrive, Eileen! Orchids are so stunning, it is hard to walk past them and not be in awe.

Thanks, Krista. Orchids are very photogenic!

Sounds like you are not alone, Christine. Like African Violets, I find orchids thrive on my neglect :)

How kind, iMac. Your Wales photos have left ME breathless :)

Do hope you give them a try, Lindalou. You can often find small orchids very reasonable at Kroger or Trader Joe's!

joey said...

Hi Marnie. It's weird how Blogger comments come in and yours got lost while I was commenting. But thanks, dear friend, for the kind words. Supposedly, this is called a 'moth orchid' since it resembles a moth in flight ... (you think?) Get well wishes for your father still coming your way.

Gail said...

Dear Joey, You are very good~those orchid shots are absolutely stunning and very sensual. I hope you had a fine time up at the Lake! gail

Rick said...

Wow - amazing photos! I'll have to look a little further on your blog too.

We tried our hand at orchids (well, one) but it's looking pretty withered in the corner.

Amy said...

BeAuTiFuL! One of the prettiest posts I have seen.

kate smudges said...

I love your Orchid photos and the way they highlight the different parts of the flower. One Orchid is in bloom for me ~ I was taking some pics of it today, but didn't like the way they turned out. There's something wonderful about Orchid blooms and the way they last for so long. Hope you have a wonderful week!

joey said...

Gee thanks, dear Gail, and yes we did. After a few issues resolved (like no phone, TV, or Internet), the weekend, shared with dear friends, was awesome.

Thanks, Rick, and welcome! Don't give up on orchids. They are hardier than you think!

I'm honored and thank you, Amy!

Kate, you are right on! Orchids seem to last forever. It's as though they say, "Hey, I'm pricey but worth it!" Hope your weather is as delightful as ours, dear friend :)

Michelle said...

Wow! Great pictures ! Flowers never cease to amaze me and your photos really bring them to life. I do not know much about orchids - thanks for the info. Michelle

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Joey, that was great information and beautiful photos. You just helped a bunch of folks today.~~Dee

Scott Law said...

Orchids are so beautiful, but it takes an artists eye as well as a technician to capture them in all their glory and you have certainly done that. Just stunning.

joey said...

Thank you, Michelle. Flowers are amazing, aren't they? Each as unique as a fingerprint!

Howdy Dee, and thanks. Just returned from a chuckle after reading your post ... I REALLY need to shop at the nursery with YOU!

joey said...

I'm honored by your comment and thank you, Scott! Orchids, so beautiful, make great subjects.

Anonymous said...

Wow Weee

Victoria said...

Woah Joey..what a super cool post..the photos are fabulously beautiful! Gorgeous read..your posts always dazzle me..awesome spotlight on the orchid! Have a super magical day!
Again..gorgeous photos!

joey said...

Wow wee, thanks, Anonymous :)

Thanks, Kiki, and you too enjoy this magical day!

F Cameron said...

What truly stunning photos! My jaw dropped when I came to your blog!

Great information on orchids.

joey said...

Thank you, Cameron. You shared stunning photos yourself today ... let there be spring!

Lucy Corrander said...

Given that I have a horrible habit of putting my foot in it here . . . you will know how much I appreciate and admire this post by saying these orchids look WONDERFUL! Beautiful, beautiful photos, shown off to their full loveliness by the way you have arranged them.


joey said...

Not so, Lucy. I so enjoy your visits. Thank you for the kind comment, an honor coming from your keen eye!

Wendy said...

Wow, these are gorgeous photos. The linked in suggestion for the slipper orchid shows a most gorgeous photo as well.

joey said...

Thank you, Wendy. I adore orchids ... in fact, a new cymbidium adopted me today :) Perhaps, a photo shoot tomorrow to show her off :)