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May 15, 2004 12:40 PM   Subscribe

The orchid, I think is the most beautiful variety of flower. If not for my black thumb I'd gladly devote some time to growing this gorgeous flowers. The main link is to the Internet Orchid Photo Encyclopedia. There's apparently a cultural phenomena involving orchids that even includes tails of theft. A case of Nicaraguan theft has even been likened to rape. NOVA has done an episode on it, which sadly I haven't seen. They're an amazingly diverse species.
posted by substrate (11 comments total)
Isn't the Orchid Thief the book that turned into the movie Adaptation?
posted by schlaager at 12:48 PM on May 15, 2004

Yes, though the adaptation was less than faithful. Great film in its own right, though.

The link to the Kenya trip on that first link is pretty rich with beautiful wildlife and culture photos. Thanks, substrate -- I love orchids, too.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:00 PM on May 15, 2004

When I worked the science desk at the University of Hawaii library we kept most of the major bromeliad resources behind the desk to prevent theft and mutilation.
posted by obfusciatrist at 1:19 PM on May 15, 2004

Black orchids are the only way that Basil can survive.
posted by bingo at 6:56 PM on May 15, 2004

I like the typo "tails of theft" an awful lot.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:00 PM on May 15, 2004

Thank you for linking to a site I had missed, Substrate. I'm partial to cymbidiums, and have found them to be both forgiving and rewarding plants - I have two that are currently in bloom that were purchased as seedlings from Casa de Orquideas (commercial site, but lots of orchid eye candy goodness).
posted by vers at 6:12 AM on May 16, 2004

Can anybody explain why all the cheap plant places like Home Depot are full of live orchids these days? I was interested in them long ago when they were considered rare and, well, not exactly hard to grow if you read some minimal instructions, but definitely hard to propagate. Has there been some sort of orchid-cloning breakthrough that suddenly made propagation easy?
posted by jfuller at 7:41 AM on May 16, 2004

Two words: tissue culture.
posted by vers at 8:23 AM on May 16, 2004

vers: wow. So in nature, orchids need their seeds infected by a fungus if they're going to be viable? That sort of specialization is just mindblowing.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:15 PM on May 16, 2004

Not quite as specialized as it may seem at first glance, FFF - they are everywhere ;)

Also, of course, in the wild the fungus is already present in the soil around the parent plant - how this whole pest/host relationship began is beyond my guessing, though. Neat though, isn't it?
posted by vers at 1:26 PM on May 16, 2004

I know the fungus are everywhere. It's that the seed embryo itself needs the fungus. It's sterile until the root fungus makes it up the plant and into the seed. That's very cool.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:33 PM on May 16, 2004

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