Everyone is familiar with orchids seen in the high street but they are a very limited representation of the multitude of species and hybrids that could be grown by the enthusiast.
Species are those which are found growing in the wild whereas hybrids are usually produced by man from cross-pollinating different species or even different orchid genera to produce novel plants with more desirable features. Hybrids are often more vigorous, healthier and more tolerant than species.
Orchids have been grown by man for hundreds of years but much of what we know today has been gleaned from the mistakes of the past. Most infamously was the mistreatment of the first orchid imports from the tropics which were grown under 'stove' house conditions and perished in their thousands. Today orchid cultivation is largely a science as most impressively demonstrated by the acres of plants grown under glass in nurseries under precisely controlled conditions to bring uniformly pristine flowering specimens to the marketplace.
Did you know...
The milled tubers of wild Orchis species are used to make the “Fox Testicle” ice cream known as Salep in Turkey!