Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Winter Orchids

People always are surprised that orchids are relatively easy house plants to grow.  A certain few rules to follow and the results are quite fun.  The flowers of cultivated orchids tend to be large and showy and often a bit exotic as is today's FFF, and while they look fragile that might last several weeks before wilting, unless you pollinate them, and then they wilt overnight.
All to TPP's orchids are in the process of flowering, which they do each year after summering outside. This particular orchid is a Zygopetalum hybrid, but don't know which. Orchid hybrids are common because they hybridize easily, and there is a biologicial reason for this.  TPP doesn't like hybrids like this grown for the exotic flowers they produce because such a flower is a hopeful monster; an orchid species can be just as "exotic" looking, but it's flower is the product of natural selection, evolution, an interaction between animal behavior and plant genetic variability, but the hybrids are not such a product, their features do not correspond to anything biologically meaningful, and for someone who studies flowers, a waste.  But this orchid was a gift, and it grows well, flowers easily, and the waxy flowers last, so it remains a pet. And this time of year FFFs are hard to come by.

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