If you are just beginning your journey into the wonderful world of orchidology, a good place to start is with a definition of ‘what is an orchid?’.
There are about 25 000 named species of orchids worldwide, all belonging to the Family Orchidaceae. It is a highly diverse family, found on every continent except Antarctica. Orchids are often thought of as having complex, colourful and showy flowers, but some species are quite cryptic. Many species are tropical and epiphytic, but there are also terrestrial and drought tolerant species. This wide variety of forms can easily cause confusion.
The Native Orchid Society of South Australia (NOSSA) have just produced this neat little video describing and illustrating the three defining features of orchids:
A labellum - a highly modified petal, which functions as a landing platform for the pollinator
A column - a single structure with both male and female parts
Can be divided in one plane only
Good luck with your orchid hunting, and watch this space for links to more orchid information videos in the coming months.