Coelogyne nitida, one of the many native orchids to be seen at Orchid Garden Khao Lak, holiday in Khaolak Thailand

With more than 27 000 species, orchids are the biggest family in the vegetable kingdom. Much bigger is the number of orchid hybrids, from which more than 50 000 have been described.

With the exception of the glacial and arid deserts orchids are growing everywhere in the world, even on Greenland some orchid species can be found. In the tropics orchids are extremely numerous and colourful and are often seen as characteristic for this region. In Thailand alone more than 1100 different orchid species can be found.

Rhynchostylis coelestis, one of the many native orchids to be seen at Orchid Garden Khao Lak, holiday in Khaolak Thailand

Looking at their habit we can separate between orchid plants living on the ground (terrestrial) and those growing on trees (epiphytic) or rocks (lithophytic). In the tropics, most orchid species can be found on trees in the upper canopy of the rain forests, where humidity is high year round.

In regions, where we have a distinct precipitation and temperature cycle, orchids have adopted to the dry period by storing water and nutrients in the swollen lower part of the stem, the pseudobulb. Succulent leaves, formed by other orchid species serve the same purpose and help reducing the loss of water by evaporation.

Cymbidium biflora, one of the many native orchids to be seen at Orchid Garden Khao Lak, holiday in Khaolak Thailand

Epiphytic orchids use their host tree to come as close to the sunlight as possible, their roots grasp and cling to the trees without in any way harming or taking food away from the host, unlike a parasitic plant. Their roots consist of a special sponge-like layer of tissues called velamen, that covers up the true roots inside. This special sheathing acts as a moisture collecting device.

Each orchid flower has two sets of petals consisting of three outer and three inner ones. While the outer ones are similar to each other the three inner petals will usually consist of an identical pair and a singular one that is unique in size, shape and often also in colour. This petal is called lip or labellum.

Orchid seedlings, grown in a sterile orchid bottle, to be seen at Orchid Garden Khao Lak, holiday in Khaolak Thailand

When the pollen comes in contact with the stigma, the orchid bloom will rapidly wither and the ovary will expand into a pod. Some of them can contain up to 4 million minuscule seeds. As the orchid seeds lack any nutrients, they depend on a kind of fungi (mycorrhiza), which is essential to help in finding food during the first part of the seedling's growth till it can mature in another orchid plant. Out of this reason cultured orchid seeds start their life in a sterile atmosphere on a special nutrient-rich culture medium, before they have grown to a size, that allows them to be fixed to cork, coconut shells or fern roots.

Orchid seedlings, grown in a sterile orchid bottle, to be seen at Orchid Garden Khao Lak, holiday in Khaolak Thailand

After 6 months the bottles are destroyed and the orchid seedlings cleaned from the culture medium. They are then transplanted to small pots with coconut chips and kept under glass to produce a moist climate.

Hybrids are cross breeds between natural orchid species or between other orchid hybrids. The plants to be crossed are selected for their special features like longer lasting, larger or more colourful flowers, longer inflorescence and are most often easier to cultivate. Therefore, most orchids sold in your home country at sometimes astonishing low prices, are hybrids. They normally have an "X" in their name showing from which species they have been crossed or have well-sounding names like "Lady ..." or "Champion".

For a collection of photos, from orchids flowering during the last seasons, please click here.


Native orchids of the following orchid families can be seen at Orchid Garden Khaolak: Acampe, Acriopsis, Aerides, Arundina, Ascocentrum, Brachycorythis, Bulbophyllum, Calanthe, Chiloschista, Cirrhopetalum, Cleisomeria, Cleisostoma, Coelogyne, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Doritis, Eria, Eulophia, Flickingeria, Gastrochilus, Geodorum, Habenaria, Hygrochilus, Kingidium, Liparis, Ludisia, Luisia, Malaxis, Nervilia, Oberonia, Panisea, Paphiopedlum, Pecteilis, Phalaenopsis, Pholidota, Porpax, Rhynchostylis, Robiquetia, Seidenfadenia, Spathoglottis, Staurochilus, Thrixspermum, Thunia, Trias, Vanda, Vandopsis, Vanilla.

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Opposite PTT Petrol Station, Kukkhak, Takuapa, Phang Nga 82190, Thailand.
Tel 08 9988 5422   

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