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ORCHID FACTS & FIGURES

  • Orchids (Orchidaceae), with about 28,000 species, are the first or second largest family - only Asteraceae (the daisy family) have a similar number

  • There are five subfamilies: Apostasioideae, Vanilloideae, Cypripedioideae, Orchidoideae and Epidendroideae

  • 727 genera of orchids are recognized in Plants of the World Online (POWO)

  • The latest classification for the family was published by Chase et al. in 2015. It is available (free access) here

  • A summary of the classification of Chase et al. (in tree form) is available here

  • Of 1760 species that have been assessed for the Global Redlist, 204 are critically endangered, 400 are endangered and 215 are vulnerable (as of March 2021)

  • All orchids are listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), but many are still subject to unsustainable/illegal colllection for food, medicine or horticulture

  • More than 70% of all species (plants and animals) on CITES Appendices 1 and 2 are orchids

  • The flavouring vanilla is made from seed pods of Vanilla species - saffron is the only other spice that is more expensive than vanilla