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Some Facts About Orchids
Orchids can grow just about anywhere: Mountains, Deserts, on the ground, in forks of branches on live trees, on the bark of live trees, on dead trees, at the tip of thin branches.
There are 35,000 native varieties and with the opening of China we're getting new ones all the time.
There are 100,000 hybrids. Blue seems to be a problem with hybrids with orchids like black was a problem with tulips.
Orchids can be sweet smelling and pretty and bright. They can be foul smelling like rotting meat and look like an open wound. It's all in what pollinates the orchid. If the only pollinator is a long tongued moth, then the orchid will have a shaft that is long as that long tongue of the moth. If it needs spiders or flies then it will attract these bugs by mimicking the female of the species and the bug will make effort to copulate and then shake pollen off of the orchid or receive pollen that the bug already picked up else where.
Orchids can be so small we have to use a magnifying glass to make them and a bunch of them will fill a thimble.
Orchids can be pretty darned big as well.
Orchids can have petals shaped like big hearts, long spikes, ruffled edged leaf, there doesn't seem to be any limit really.
Then can be at the end of a spike, or trailing down in rows off of a hanging vine. They can come up in a bunch out of a nest of broad leaves when they grow on the ground. They can be deciduous and loose their petals and leaves and go dormant if they live on a tree that does that too. They blossom just before the tree wakes up for spring offering bright patches of color on an otherwise bleak landscape.
The orchids of the tropics are the oldest for they were not harassed by the glaciers. Northern orchids were chased south with the glaciers and when the glaciers retreated the orchids took root again in the north. Their seeds are like dust and they will gain foot hold in cracks in rocks that might have some organic material blown there. The wind picks up orchid seeds and they travel easily, are opportunistic, adaptable, and some plants can out live their human owners if they are cared for correctly.
Even when they are abused nigh unto death they will give out a last bloom in the hope of providing seeds to disperse before they are done.
Each time you eat something that has been flavored with Vanilla, you're eating the seeds of an orchid. The only Vanilla orchids grown now are in Madagascar, we are usually eating imitation vanilla synthesized in laboratories. But if you cook using vanilla bean, remember, that's an orchid and it was used by the Aztecs with cocoa bean to make the chocolate that we love so much.
So any colors, any combination of stripes and spots, any size of petal, any shape of petal, all will yield you an orchid-like flower if you use the 7 parts of the orchid count. It can be striped three petals up, two dorsal petals in long trailing spikes and a lip that looks like a Spanish Dancer's skirt hem, all ruffled and fluted.
With orchids ...anything goes, except for blue in imitating hybrids evidently... but we have artistic license. Miniaturists would be advised to go to the sample page I've provided for views of real orchids of various types for we are limited by what is seen in reality. The nifty thing about orchids is they are so varied, so wild in color, that we really can find orchids that have our specially loved colors, our design elements and just use those since they please us the most. The orchid on the real flower page, down at the left, the one with the yellow and red stripes and long spike leaves, you know that's my favorite.
Those of us who can do pinch pots...that's how we're going to get the pouch on the orchids that have them, like the Lady Slipper orchid, that has to be done with the pinch pot method. Remember with the pouch orchids the two dorsal petals at the bottom are fused into one and hides behind the pouch. The three petals over the pouch will sometimes be a hood over the opening of the pouch so rain water does not fall in, keeping the pollen dry. Unlike carnivorous plants which welcome water to mix with the digestive juices, provide a slippery surface to keep prey inside, the orchid protects the inside of the pouch from water, and give hairy surfaces for the bugs to climb up on, making the pollen shake onto the bug and shaking off the pollen the bug might have as it climbs out of the pouch to go else where.
Some orchids provide nature, some do a little, some don't at all. The aroma of the plant seems to be determined on this nature giving, also whether it's a night blooming plant which needs aroma or a day time plant which uses color more than aroma. One can add aroma to polymer clay by using essential oils, just be careful who you give it to since some folks are sensitive to such stuff.
So that's the download on what I read up on last night about orchids. Now I'm off to set up the cam for the early Demo. I think I'll make effort for a marathon demo day so everyone can get a look see.
Life is like a lump of clay, both are what you make of it.