The orchid is a perennial plant that usually has three petals. The third petal forms a large lip, differing from the other two in color and sometimes shape. There are about 30,000 different species of orchids wildly growing worldwide. Understanding the different types of orchid can be useful to home growers.
There three basic types of orchid: epiphytic, terrestrial, and saprophytic. The first of the types of different orchids, the epiphytic orchid, grows mostly in tropic and subtopic regions. They are attached to and suspended from tree trunks, branches, and the faces of rocks. The epiphytic orchid has its roots exposed to the air so that it can receive moisture and nutrients. The epiphytic types of orchid are the most popular for growing indoors.
The terrestrial orchid is the second of the major types of orchid. This type is usually anchored to the ground using underground roots. The plant uses the roots to get the nutrients it needs. Many people who try to grow terrestrial orchids attempt to grow them in potting soil. In doing this, they have failed to realize that the terrestrial orchid doesn’t naturally grow in the same type of soil as potting soil. Instead, they grow in humus or leaf litter that has accumulated on the forest floor.
The third of the types of orchid is saprophytic. The saprophytic orchid has underground roots just as the terrestrial orchid does. This kind of orchid, however, does not have chlorophyll. The lack of chlorophyll causes the leaves to be small and yellowish. They do not have the ability to complete photosynthesis so the species gets its nutrients from decaying matter in the soil. Some species of saprophytic orchids grow completely underground and never come above. This species is also different from the other two types of orchid because its petals are fused together as one and not three separate ones.