Epidendrum

Epidendrum.

Epidendrum is a large neotropical genus of the orchid family. With more than 1,500 species, some authors describe it as a mega-genus. The genus name refers to its epiphytic growth habit; that is, it grows harmlessly upon another plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and sometimes from debris accumulating around it. They are native to the tropics and subtropical regions of the American continents from North Carolina to Argentina. Their habitat can be epiphytic, terrestrial or even lithophytic (growing on bare rock). Many are grown in the Andes. at altitudes between 1,000 and 3,000 metres. Their habitats include humid jungles, dry tropical forests, sunny grassy slopes, cool cloud forests, and sandy barrier islands. Most of the high altitude members of this genus from cloud forests defy cultivation outside their habitat, and it is reported that even moving a plant from one location to another on the same host tree in habitat will result in the death of the plant, possibly due to dependency on a specific mycorrhizal fungal symbiont. They are quite varied in flower size and appearance. They grow in tufts, in racemose inflorescences, sometimes in corymbs or panicles. The apical, lateral or basal flowers are mostly small to medium in size and frequently are not marked by a conspicuous display. The inflorescences are frequently dense. Many species are fragrant. The flowers may be produced only once, or during several years from the same or new inflorescences. The ellipsoid fruits are 3-ribbed capsules. Credit: Wikipedia.