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Orchids • Orchidaceae
The largest and most diverse of the flowering plant (Angiospermae) families, are the Orchids (Orchidaceae family), with over 950 genera and 30,000 species found all over the world. They are most abundant flowering plants in the tropics, with new species continually being discovered.

Australia has about 100 genera, with more than 1,200 species.

The Taxonomy of the Orchid Family, is a story all on it’s own, with a number of classification systems. It is the classification, published in the book ‘The Orchids: Natural History and Classification’ that is widely accepted by botanists and growers. This is based largely on the system of Robert Louis Dressler, an orchid specialist and adjunct curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The initial scheme of 1981 has been modified in 1986, twice in 1990, and then again in 1993. This is the most comprehensive classification at the moment, relying heavily on morphology and a few key characters, such as anther configuration and pollinarium structure.

The orchid family (Orchidaceae) is subdivided into several subfamilies, and then into tribes, subtribes, alliances and then genera.

According to Dressler, there are 5 subfamilies, 22 tribes, 70 subtribes, about 850 genera and 20,000 species in this family.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamilies: Apostasioideae
Orchids • Images
Tiny Caladenia (Caladenia pusilla)
Tiny Caladenia (Caladenia pusilla) Tiny Caladenia (Caladenia pusilla)
Tiny Caladenia (Caladenia pusilla), Douglas Apsley National Park, TAS. Tiny Caladenia (Caladenia pusilla), Douglas Apsley National Park, TAS.
Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major)
Wax-lip Orchid (Glossodia major)
Wax-lip Orchid (Glossodia major), Warrumbungle National Park, NSW  

Orchids • Other Links


Orchidaceae. (2006, December 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:10, December 31, 2006, from

Taxonomy of the orchid family. (2006, December 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:48, January 2, 2007, from

Denise Greig, Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers, New Holland Publishers, 2001, ISBN 1-86436-334-7, p. 290

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