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Introduction: The wide world of orchids

With more than 30,000 different species, orchids are the most diverse plant family in existence. To put that in perspective, this means that orchids make up one in ten of all plant species on Earth. But where are all these different plants? The majority of them, more than 20,000 species, live as epiphytes on tropical trees and shrubs.

Orchids have adapted well to life high in the air. Some orchids living on trees have developed storage devices in the form of round or spindle-shaped stems, known as pseudobulbs, while others have thick, fleshy leaves that store water. There are even some orchids that have no leaves at all. Instead, their chlorophyll-containing roots function like leaves on other plants.

On more general information on epiphytes, enter 161 on your handset.

Audio file download
Introduction: The wide world of orchids (MP3, 391 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Günter Gerlach, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg

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