Lithophyte Orchid Plants
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Species orchids are the naturally occurring, wild plants, and there are estimated to be between 25,000 and 30,000 different types spread throughout the world. In this article I’ll be discussing lithophyte orchids.
Some orchids also grow on rock faces, and these are called lithophytes. They include the paphiopedilums (slipper orchids) and, perhaps best known of this type, the phragmipediums. Since in nature the lithophytes obtain their nutrients in a similar way to the epiphytes, their culture is the same. In each case, nutrients are washed down the surface of the tree bark, or down the rock face, to be absorbed by the orchids’ firmly clinging roots. While some roots remain exposed, others grow into cracks and crevices and feed on the natural mycelium (fungal spawn) that exists there. Oncidiums, in particular, often produce dense mats of fine roots for this purpose.
Check out the part one article, Epiphytes Orchid Plants for more information on natural occurring orchid species.