ORCHIDS, the most beautiful flowers in god's creation, comprise a unique group of plants. Taxonomically, they represent the most highly evolved family among monocotyledons with 600-800 genera and 25,000-35,000 species . Orchids exhibit an incredible range of diversity in size, shape and colour of their flowers. They are most pampered of the plants and occupy top position among all the flowering plants valued for cut flower production and as potted plants. They are known for their longer lasting and bewitchingly beautiful flowers which fetch a very high price in the international market. The evolution of orchid culture from hobbyist to commercial grower was very slow as most of the orchids collected from different regions did not adapt to local conditions and died. The methods of propagation were not known and most of the orchids which flowered under utmost care were found to be self sterile. Further, it was difficult to germinate the seeds, which lacks any functional endosperm. The seeds sown in the nursery beds required long period of germination and any disturbance to the soil or physical environment destroyed the whole population. Orchids from 9% of our flora and are the largest botanical family of higher plants in India. It is estimated that about 1,300 species (140 genera) of orchids are found in our country with Himalayas as their main home and others scattered in Eastern and western Ghats. The following is the distribution of orchids species in different regions of India. North-Western Himalayas ca 200 species
North-Eastern India ca 800 species
Western Ghats ca 300 species
North-Eastern India owing to its peculiar gradient and varied climatic conditions contains largest group of temperate, sub-tropical orchids. India has a very large variety of orchids and hilly regions have one or the other orchid flowering almost throughout the year. The diversity is so large that there are large-flowered, terrestrial, epiphytic and also...