If you are just starting to learn about orchids then understanding the different types of is a good place to start. There are a daunting number of types or species. The is often admired for its rarity; however, the family is possibly the largest of all the flowering plants. It is believed that new species of are being created every year. In the broadest category there are two different types of – purebred and hybrid. There are believed to be over twenty thousand purebreds and over one hundred thousand hybrids. Since there are so many different types of some of them are very rare and therefore they become protected species and only photographs are allowed. As you learn more about the different types of orchids you will also read about the behaviour of some of the collectors and how they have abused some of the guide lines drawn up to protect the different types of orchid. Hence you must be very careful before you pick orchids. A good rule of thumb in understanding the different types of is that if they appear in the wild they should be left there and not touched – these are viewing and photographing only types.
Understanding the origins of some of the orchids will blur the boundaries between the different types of orchid. It is believed that many of the wild orchids are hybrids which occurred naturally. This cross breeding occurs as insects fly between the different types of and move pollen between them: Hence the natural hybrid. It is almost impossible to work out what the original flower was and how many times it has changed during its evolution. It is possible that the number of species which did not survive in the wild is at least as great as the numbers created by man. Nature does not record its changes for us; it leaves us to accept what we are given. Mans desire to create has influenced and effected the propagation of hybrid orchids, this has carried on at a pace where there are believed to be more man created orchids than there are natural ones.
All these different types of are recorded in a registry held and maintained in the United Kingdom by the Royal Horticultural Society. The records show that people have been adding to the naturally occurring different types of orchids since 1854.