Orchid Adaptations

As promised another post about orchids from my visit to The Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh. DSCN1550

The Orchids are a highly evolved family of flowering plants. There are over ten thousand species of orchids found in the tropics, most are epiphytes they grow on other plants and trees.

Orchids growing in the tropics face competition for light, nutrients and water. Orchids can grow in trees up to thirty meters above the ground but this limits their access to water. Orchids have evolved a unique structure called pseudobulbs, a storage organ for water and nutrients; they are also green and photosynthesize.

Pseudobulb

Pseudobulb Lycaste ciliata

Orchids have varying pollination strategies many orchid flowers remain receptive for long periods of time. In contrast the Sobralia genus, has a very short flowering time some species only flower for a few hours. Flowering is synchronised with the life cycle of pollinators.

"Sobralia macrantha (1847)" by Charles Morren

“Sobralia macrantha (1847)” by Charles Morren

Orchid flower bud

Orchid flower bud

The Joseph Martindale herbarium collection at Kendal museum is currently being digitised it is a large collection containing over 4000 specimens, including some beautiful orchid specimens collected locally in Cumbria. Images of the collection will soon be available to view on new website launching in November 2015.

FINAL Kendal Museum Logo CS3HLF logoKendal college logo

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