Anatomy of an Orchid Flower

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Submitted By cchi
Words 633
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Anatomy of an Orchid Flower
Despite the astonishing diversity found in the thousands of wild species and man-made hybrids, orchid flowers show an unmistakable family resemblance. Orchid flowers are generally bilaterally symmetrical—only a single imaginary line can be drawn through a flower to create a mirror image.
A typical orchid flower has three sepals (the outer segments that protect the bud before the flower opens), alternating with three petals. The petals and sepals may be similar or not, showy or inconspicuous.
The middle petal, which is always opposite the column, is usually quite different from the others. Called the lip or labellum, it comes in a variety of shapes, depending on the species, and can be wavy or fringed or covered with hairs or other structures. The labellum often serves as a landing pad and attractant for insect pollinators.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, December 28). Orchids' sexual trickery explained: Leads to more efficient pollinating system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from new study reveals the reason why orchids use sexual trickery to lure insect pollinators. The study, published in the January issue of The American Naturalist, finds that sexual deception in orchids leads to a more efficient pollinating system.
While most flowering plants reward pollinators with tasty nectar, many orchid species turn to trickery. Some use what's called food deception. They produce flowers that look or smell like they offer food, but offer no edible reward. Other orchids use sexual deception. They produce flowers that look or smell like female insects, usually bees or wasps. Males are drawn to the sexy flowers and attempt to mate with it. In doing so, they accidentally collect pollen on their bodies, which fertilizes the next orchid they visit.
From an evolutionary…...

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