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How do you identify orchids?

A:

Quick Answer

To identify an orchid, examine features such as the height of the orchid, the habitat surrounding it and the type of flowers it produces. Other features to look for include the flowering time of the orchid and the presence of pseudobulbs.

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Full Answer

Flowers are most important when it comes to identifying orchids. Examine the color, shape and size of the orchid's flowers. Look for a distinctive lip shape on the flower, such as diamond-shaped or flat. Determine if the flower is a solid color or has a pattern, such as spots or lines.

The flowering time of an orchid helps rule out other possibilities because some orchids only flower at certain times of the year. For example, the Jewel orchid blooms from September to March. Habitat is also useful in identifying orchids because some orchids only grow in certain parts of the world, such as the Showy Lady's Slipper orchid, which grows only in North America. Others require specific environmental conditions, including lake margins, moist swampy areas or dry grasslands.

Pseudobulbs are hardened stems used for water storage in an orchid. If an orchid has pseudobulbs, it means it is a sympodial orchid, which helps with identification of the orchid. An orchid flower's fragrance is another method for identifying it. Some orchids only produce fragrance at night, such as the Comet orchid, for example.

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