Fungi add flavor to vanilla

Worldwide, vanilla is the most popular flavor we know. Vanilla is also a popular product in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, where it is used in perfumes and medicines, amongst other things. The only source of vanilla ...

Artificial intelligence can help protect orchids and other species

Many orchid species are threatened by land conversion and illegal harvesting. However, only a fraction of those species is included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, because assessments require a lot of time, resources ...

Online trade poses new threat for wild orchids

The wild orchid trade in China has extended its reach past physical markets to the Internet. With these rare, endangered plants just a click away, the possibility of extinction has escalated.

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Orchidaceae

The Orchidaceae, commonly referred to as the orchid family, is a morphologically diverse and widespread family of monocots in the order Asparagales. Along with the Asteraceae, it is one of the two largest families of flowering plants, with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species, found in 880 genera. Selecting which of the two families is larger remains elusive because of the difficulties associated with putting hard species numbers on such enormous groups. Regardless, the number of orchid species equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species. It also encompasses about 6–11% of all seed plants. The largest genera are Bulbophyllum (2,000 species), Epidendrum (1,500 species), Dendrobium (1,400 species) and Pleurothallis (1,000 species).

The family also includes Vanilla (the genus of the vanilla plant), Orchis (type genus), and many commonly cultivated plants such as Phalaenopsis and Cattleya. Moreover, since the introduction of tropical species in the 19th century, horticulturists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.

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