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Vanilla beans come from Orchids!
The vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia) is the only commercially grown orchid crop
Orchids have the tiniest seeds in the world.
Some seeds are only 1/300th of an inch which is too tiny to see by the unaided human eye.
Orchids are found almost everywhere.
Not just limited to jungles, Orchids are found on all continents except Antarctica. They are even found in the Arctic circle.
Orchids take a while to grow.
It can take 5 to 7 years to flower after germinating. Often times orchids found at the grocery store are at least a decade old!
Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants.
They are also one of the oldest flowers in existence. Since orchid varieties are found all over the world it’s thought that they were in existence prior to the separation of continents.
There are more than 25,000 species of orchids.
To put that in perspective, there are only about 5,500 known species of mammals
Orchid plants have been known to live to 100 years old!
With proper care these plants can live into the next century.
One orchid seed pod can contain 3 million seeds.
They are the size of a speck of dust. They are so small because they lack an endosperm and have no nutrients. They need to make contact with a certain type of fungus to germinate and grow.
Orchids and their insect pollinators are extremely tight and specialized.
The plant flowers and insects evolve to only pollinate each other. In some cases the extinction of the insect species means the extinction of the orchid because nothing else can pollinate it in the wild.
Some orchid flowers bloom only for a couple hours while others last up to 6 months.
Phalaenopsis are some of the longest blooming orchids.