[Terms and definitions for this page were collected from various resources, including the American Orchid Society and the OrchidWeb.]

aerial root: Any root produced above the growing medium.

anther: The part of the stamen containing the pollen; the end of the column


Lc Gold Digger 'Orglades'

backbulb: An old pseudobulb behind the part of a sympodial orchid that is actively growing. Although there may be no leaves, the presence of undamaged “eyes” is a sign that growth is possible.

bifoliate: Having two leaves.

cane: An elongated psuedobulb, usually used when describing Dendrobiums.

crock: Small pieces of broken earthenware or flower pots, placed in the bottom of a pot when repotting to aid in drainage.

cultivar: An individual plant and its vegetatives propagations in cultivation; a horticultural variety.

epiphyte, epiphytic: A plant which naturally grows upon another plant but does not derive any nourishment from it. Many of the orchids in cultivation are ephiphytic.

eye: The bud of a sympodial orchid that will eventually develop into a new lead.

foliar spray: Many minor nutrients and trace elements beneficial to growth are best absorbed through the stomata of an orchid’s leaves when mixed with water and sprayed on the plant

genus (pl. genera): A natural groupoing of closely related species.


Epipactis helleborine

habitat: The offspring of a cross between species or hybrids.

hybrid: The offspring of a cross between species or hybrids.

inflorescence: The flowering portion of a plant.

intergeneric hybrid: A hybrid between members of two or more genera.

keiki: A Hawaiian word referring to a baby plant produced asexually by an orchid plant, usually used when referring to Dendrobiums or Vandaceous orchids.

lead: An immature vegetative growth on a sympodial orchid that will develop into flower-producing structure.

lip: A modified petal of the orchid flower specialized to aid in pollination and different than the other petals.

lithophyte: An orchid that grows on rocks.

medium: The material in which an orchid is container-grown, it may be organic such as fir bark or inorganic such as lava rock.

mericlone: A plant derived from tissue culture that is identical to its parent.


Onc. splendedium x Onc. luridum

monopodial: Orchids which grow upward from a single stem producing leaves and flowers along that stem.

node: A joint on a stem or pseudobulb from which a leaf or growth originates.

panicle: An inflorescence with a main stem and branches, the flowers on the lower branches open earlier than the upper ones.

photosynthesis: The process a plant uses to produce carbohydrates and sugar from water and carbon dioxide in the air using chlorophyl-containing cells-exposed to light.

pseudobulb: A thickened portion of the stem of many orchids functioning as a water and flood storge device.

raceme: An unbranched inflorescence of stalked flowers.

rhizome: A root-bearing stem of sympodial orchids that progressively sends up lefy shoots

Laelia mantiquerirae

scape: An unbranched inflorescence with one flower.

sheath: A modified leaf that encloses an emerging inflorescence or leaf.

species: A kind of lant that is distinct from other plants.

spike: An unbranched inflorescence of unstalked flowers.

stolon: A branch that grows horizontally above the medium and produces roots and shoots at the nodes.

stomata: The breathing pores on the surface of a plant’s leaves.

sympodial: Orchids which grow laterially and produce leafy growths along a rhizome.

terrestrial: Growing on the ground and supported by soil.

unifoliate: Having one leaf.

velamen: The thick sponge-like covering of the roots of epiphytic orchids which helps prevent water losss and aids in absorption.

virus: A type of infectious agent, much smaller than common microorganisms, several forms of whihc affect certain kinds of orchids.


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