Do you know what the most popular type of orchid is in the world? You guessed it right.
It’s the Phalaenopsis. With its abundant blooms and impressive ability to thrive indoors, this genus has become a favorite among flower lovers and the go-to plant for novices.
With several subfamilies, tribes, subtribes, genera, and probably a thousand different species and hybrids, orchid plants can be dizzyingly confusing. Since we’re talking specifically about phalaenopsis, perhaps we can pare down the information overload a little bit.
Here are the basics about Phalaenopsis:
- Botanical name: Phalaenopsis (pronounced /fælᵻˈnɒpsɪs/)
- Common name: Moth orchids
- Abbreviation: Phal
- Family: Orchidaceae
- Subfamily: Epidendroideae
- Tribe: Vandeae
- Subtribe: Aeridinae Sarcantheae
- Blooming season: All year round
- Type according to growing behavior: Monopodial, meaning a single-stem plant that grows in one direction
- Type according to habitat: Some phals are epiphytes (or grow on top of another plant or tree barks), while some can be lithophytes (stick themselves to rock surfaces).
Phalaenopsis Origin And History
One of the many genera under the Orchidaceae family was first identified by a German-Dutch botanist and entomologist, Dr. Karl Ludwig Blume, in 1825.
It was derived from the Greek word “phalaina,” which translates to “a moth,” and opsis, meaning “appearance”. It was because Dr. Blume was reminded of the flying white moths he had seen in tropical jungles. Some people also call these “phals” for short.
Phalaenopsis Species vs. Hybrids
The first orchid plant was sent to Europe from Manila for cultivation by natural history collector, Hugh Cuming, in 1837. Since then, countless species and hybrids have been established through the expertise of various botanists and experts.
What’s the difference between species and hybrids?
- Orchid species - found in the wild or their natural habitat
- Orchid hybrids – the term used for a new orchid type produced as a result of two orchid species. However, some phalaenopsis orchid hybrids can be found in nature. These hybrids are identified with the letter “x” before their name.
To date, there’s more or less around 75 recognized species of Phalaenopsis.
Orchid Delivery in Los Angeles
Phalaenopsis are native in different tropical countries throughout southeast Asia, particularly in the islands of Palawan and Zamboanga in the Philippines, in the Himalayas, and Australia.
In the United States, the Smithsonian Gardens is home to a rich collection of nearly 9,000 live orchid plants. Many parks and botanical gardens also display gorgeous orchid species for public viewings. A day trip to the Arboretum of Los Angeles County, Descanso Gardens, and South Botanic Garden will give you a visual feast.
However, if you want your own phalaenopsis orchid blooming for your personal viewing pleasure, you can check out Orchid Republic’s stunning orchid arrangement collection. Located conveniently in the heart of Studio City, we offer same-day flower delivery anywhere in Los Angeles and Orange County.
American Orchid Society: http://www.aos.org/orchids/additional-resources/phalaenopsis-the-genus.aspx
Phalaenopsis Orchids Species and Hybrids: http://www.phals.net/Definitions_e.html
Royal Horticultural Society: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=388