From the Greek “phalaina” (a moth) and “opsis” (resembles), referring to the likeness of the flower to a large moth.
Orchids have long been highly sought after, probably for the unusual beauty of their design. Orchid hunters in the nineteenth century collected them by the ton, and chopped down as many as four thousand trees at one time for the Orchids growing on them.
Most are classified as “epiphytes” or air plants as they grow on other plants and elevated supports. They are not parasites but obtain water and nutrients through a spongy covering of their roots.
Chilling injury or ethylene damage appears as translucent or dried patches on petals and sepals.
This family is generally believed to contain the largest number of species, somewhere around 30,000.