Orchidaceae, the Orchid family, is the largest family of the flowering plants. Its name is derived from the Greek genus Orchis (meaning “testicle”).
Orchid flowers differ from the majority of flower species in both their pollination systems and structural make-up; the male and female parts of the orchid are actually fused together and located to one side of the flower.
Orchids come in all colors except blue and black, and have flowers, depending on the variety, from the size of a pinhead to the size of a pie plate. Some leaves are thick, some are thin, some are tiny, some plants, such as the Vanilla Plant, grow over 15 feet tall.
About 80 percent of orchids are from the tropics in both the New World (Central and South America) and the Old World (Asia and Malaysia). A smattering can be found in North America and Europe.
Orchids have a reputation as being difficult, if not impossible, to grow, especially without a greenhouse.