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We want to make the information on our site as easy to read as possible, using plain English whenever possible. Unfortunately many things can be explained in one word or phrase - often in Latin - that would otherwise take a paragraph and be very repetetive. This Glossary is intended only as a quick explanation of the words and phrases you are likely to find on this site. It is not, nor is it intended to be, an exhaustive reference - there are plenty of excellent ones on the web already.

If you think we have made a mistake with a definition please use the contact form to let us know.

Having tooth-like protrusions, the protrusions also being toothed.

In horticuture, the name given to each seedling of the same parents in order to distinguish them from one another. All will share their parents\' genetic background, but there may be differences between them in flower shape or colour, growth habit, etc, just as children of the same human parents may have different colour hair, eyes, or skin tone.

Any plant which grows in or on another plant without damaging it. Many orchids grow in or on trees, their roots attaching themselves to the bark for support, but causing no harm to their host. They should not be confused with parasitic plants, which also use their host as a food source, weakening and often eventually killing it.

Having a fringed edge. This is often seen on the lip of an orchid flower - as in Dendrobium fimbriatum - but can occur on other parts of the flower. In some orchids the entire flower appears to be one big fringe, like Habenaria myriotricha, but the fringing in those cases is more likely to be a highly modified petal structure.

A grex name is a name given to a group of hybrid orchids which are all the offspring of a particular crossing. If you think in terms of a family, the original cross (parent) that was given the grex name may have produced a number seedlings (children - related to each other like brothers and sisters), each of which may then be given its own (clonal) name to distinguish it from its brothers and sisters. The same would apply to offspring of those original seedlings. All would relate back, in some way, to the original crossing.

A plant which grows on or over rocks and stones by working their roots into the mosses and lichens that grow over them.

An orchid which grows upwards from single shoot. The plant produces new leaves on the end of the shoot, so the shoot lengthens. Monopodial orchids are generally epiphytic and often produce arial roots which are used for both anchoring the plant to its host and for gathering food and water, e.g. Vandas.

Folded or pleated, like the folds of a fan. Many orchids have leaves that fit this description.

A fattened growth, resembling a bulb except that it normally grows above the ground, which acts as a storage organ for food or water. Many orchids, particularly epiphytic orchids, produce pseudobulbs from which shoots and leaves grow.

Curved backwards or inwards.

Growing outwards from the original plant. Sympodial orchids produce new shoots or pseudobulbs from the base of older ones and spread out sideways, e.g. Dendrobiums, Cattleyas and Cymbidiums.

Growing in soil.

A method of growing vandaceous orchids in vases.

It can be difficult to provide adequate humidity for vandaceous orchids in your home, however many of them adapt well to being grown in clear glass vases or jars. Those with a wide shoulder, which then narrow slightly and open to a wider neck are best. The shoulders will help to keep the humidity in while the wide neck will allow air to enter the vase. In the morning, fill the vase with water, or water/fertilizer mix, up to below the bottom leaf joint. Leave them for twenty minutes or so, until the roots have taken up the water, then tip out the water be careful not to tip out the plant too.

A daily soaking is best, particularly in hot weather, but if you are not able to do that every day then spraying over the roots inside the vase on the days they cannot be soaked, or if the weather is cold, may suffice for a day or two. As with mounted orchids, in hot weather it might be necessary to soak or spray more than once a day but not so the roots are wet in the evening.

The best time to transfer an orchid to vase culture is just as new roots begin to grow. The plant may lose some of its existing roots at first. This is perfectly normal and not a cause for concern. New roots will grow which will be better adapted to this cultural method.

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