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Orchids 101: The biology behind these elegant flowers

By: Anna Norris on Jan. 21, 2014, 9:19 a.m.
Dendrobium gonzalesii

Photo: Anna Norris

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Roots wherever they please

Some orchids are lithophytes (meaning they can grow on or around rocks) and others are terrestrial (they simply grow out of the ground, like grass), but most are epiphytes, meaning that they grow anchored to another, sturdier plant. The orchid pictured here is a member of the genus Dendrobium, a name that literally means "living on trees."