Unusually beautiful and elegant, graceful and even airy - all this is about orchids, which are very popular in home gardening. But not many people know how orchids grow in nature when they appeared in Europe and how they came to the territory of Russia.
How an orchid grows in nature
For residents of the metropolis, orchids are most often presented on store shelves, window sills, or at exhibitions. They seem exotic, growing in the hot forests of the Amazon.
Orchids in the wild
In fact, an orchid in the wild is a fairly common and hardy plant that easily adapts to any conditions. Plants are found almost throughout the planet, in any climatic zones, with the exception of Antarctica. On the territory of the former USSR, there are about 49 species of these plants.
Undoubtedly, they are most often found in tropical forests, where nature created the most favorable conditions: a high percentage of humidity, airflow, protection from the scorching sun.
For your information! In the tropics, varieties of epiphytic species prevail, and in a temperate climate land-based species of perennials with a well-developed tuber rhizome prevail.
Where orchids grow
Conventionally, the area of orchid growth is divided into four zones:
- the first group includes the USA, Central and South America, and other regions located near the equator. In this climate zone, all conditions for the growth of a flower are created, so you can meet all kinds of orchids there;
- the rocky territories of the Andes and the Brazilian mountains, the territory of all Southeast Asia. In this climate zone, it is not so hot, but the humidity level remains high, therefore, all kinds of orchids are also found here. It is here that the most common phalaenopsis in the wild grows;
- the third natural zone of flower growth includes steppes and plateaus with a less favorable climate than in the tropics or at the equator. There are terrestrial species, insignificant species of epiphytic plants;
- in the fourth zone with a temperate climate, the habitat of orchids is not as common as in all other zones. There are only a few terrestrial species, and then in a limited number.
The distribution area of orchids is large
Today in the house you can grow an orchid without difficulty, but where did it come from in megacities? The country of origin of the flower itself is not known for certain, but the first mention is found in manuscripts of China, dated 500 BC. e. According to historical accounts, the famous philosopher Confucius wrote that the smell of a flower resembles the words of love of hearts in love.
Also in China, scientists found a manuscript dated 700 BC. e., which describes in detail how the artist V. May cultivated a flower in a small pot. Since then, people around the world have learned about this amazing flower, its beauty, smell and medicinal properties.
But, probably, the most beautiful name for the flower was given by the ancient Greek Theophrastus, philosopher and thinker, having found a plant with pseudobulbs, he called it "Orchis". Translated from the language of the ancient Greeks, this translates as "testicle". And all this happened in the 300th century. BC e.
The first mention of orchid recorded in China
Despite the fact that orchids vary in varieties and species, their life cycle is long - on average, from 60 to 80 years. But long-livers are also found in nature, whose age can exceed one hundred years, and it is unlikely that such houses can be raised.
At the same time, the plants are unpretentious and quite accommodating. They are not afraid of temperature changes, and the lack of light, on the contrary, is perceived for good.
Note! Since the days of ancient China, it was grown in the homes of noble families, passing by inheritance, which also indicates the longevity of orchids.
When and how was the plant first brought to Europe
Orchid was brought into Europe in the 18th century, when sailors discovered new islands and lands. It was from there that this exotic plant of rich aristocracy was brought. There is even a legend that one English nerd received a practically dried orchid tuber as a gift. But attention and proper care led to the fact that she came to life and sprouted.
For your information! It is this case that is considered the starting point in England for orchid fashion, and later in Europe.
If we talk about where the flower was brought from to Russia, it came from Europe in the early 19th century. And the famous Sandler company did it. The flower was presented to the Russian Emperor himself and his family.
So, in 1804, a book was even published on the issues of caring and growing, propagating orchids. For example, a flower was described in the book, which was named in honor of the wife of the leading orchidophile in Russia, K. Engelhard.
The second wave of the flower’s popularity in Russia is called the post-war period, when an exotic flower was brought from Germany, where it was specially grown in Goering’s greenhouses. All plants were honorably transferred to the Moscow Botanical Garden.
Phalaenopsis orchid in a natural environment on a tree
According to official documents, the first Phalaenopsis orchid came to Europe in the early 18th century. Phalaenopsis in nature made a lasting impression on the discoverers, after which he ended up in the homes of many admirers of unusual plants.
Its beauty amazes many, and flower growers make a lot of efforts to grow in greenhouses, but they all crashed and failed. But only after a century and a half, this type of orchid growing on a tree appeared on the windowsills of many lovers and admirers of this amazing flower.
Important! For the cultivation of this type of orchid, the appropriate temperature and humidity are important. But a simple greenhouse will not help here, since the plant needs a constant flow of air.
Phalaenopsis orchid in a natural environment on a tree
In nature, no one was specially involved in the reproduction of this species; they grow and reproduce on their own. In the tropics, they can be found on almost every corner, they can hang from any surface in which you can simply fix the roots. In the leaf outlet itself, a peduncle is surely knocked out, on which either flowers or seeds will be located.
The root system of epiphytes is powerful, it has some thickenings in which moisture and nutrient compounds accumulate. The most favorable growth region is considered to be the tropics, when natural conditions of flower art, striking colors and shapes, create natural conditions, temperature and humidity, plenty of light.
Important! This plant is also located on a tree, but it does not belong to parasitic species.
In the natural environment, this type of orchid adapted to live without soil, using trees and vines as a support, absorbing with their help a maximum of moisture and nutrients. But such a tandem does not exclude the fact that phalaenopsis can grow on the slopes of mountains, and in rocky terrain. The main thing is plenty of moisture.
Comparison of wild and domestic plants
Home specimens can be not only those that grow in the natural environment, hybrid varieties are also bred. They are often the result of the long and painstaking work of breeders.
Plus, the conditions that exist for a flower cannot be recreated at home in apartments and houses. Earlier, lovers of these flowers created the conditions as close to natural as possible for the content and development of the flower, but it was too painstaking work. Therefore, breeders gradually developed new varieties that were less demanding of the conditions, able to feel comfortable in the apartment.
Note! Today, in houses and apartments you can find species of orchids that have adapted not to grow on trees, but in the ground. And they are valued both for beauty and unpretentiousness.
Along with this, domestic orchid species have a shorter life cycle. And if in nature the orchid's lifespan varies between 60-80 years, or even 100, then home hybrid varieties live about 8-10 years.
Another difference between domestic orchids and those that grow in the natural environment is lush and plentiful flowering. Often, domestic flowers knock out a flower stalk throughout almost the whole year, when wild orchids bloom only in summer.
The difference between home and wild orchids
In the wild natural conditions for the growth of this amazing flower, you can find a considerable number of orchids - original and unusual, while others can be similar to domesticated varieties. But, regardless of whether they are domestic orchids or wild specimens, they are all incredibly beautiful, and most of them exude a pleasant aroma. They are even used in medicine and cosmetology.
Thus, the orchid grows almost throughout the planet, where there are appropriate conditions for it. High humidity and temperature, plenty of light - and here in front of the grower is an amazing creation of nature and the hands of botanists.