Re: Vanilla Orchid
here is some additional info in the group of Orchids known as vanilla
According to Dr. Ken Cameron, New York Botanical Garden's specialist on vanilla orchids, Vanilla is just one genus of an ancient orchid subfamily known as Vanilloideae. The entire orchid family, Orchidaceae,
is classified within the flowering plant order Asparagales, a diverse group of plants that include asparagus, amaryllises, irises, onion, agaves and yuccas.
By using DNA to build evolutionary trees, Dr. Cameron and colleagues have shown that the vanilloid orchids represent one of the first branches to emerge out of the orchid family, and thus out of Asparagales as
well, which means that they may have evolved as long as 90 million years ago. Vanilla has some primitive aspects that make it different from most other orchids. A characteristic of the Asparagales order is a seed encased in a black, crusty coat. Vanilla does not have the tiny, microscopic seeds
typical of most orchids; its seeds have a black, rough coat like the seeds released from the fronds of a mature asparagus. In addition, vanilla is both an epiphyte and a terrestrial orchid. Its vine needs other plants for support,
yet its roots trail along the forest floor and penetrate the soil. Only two species of vanilla are used commercially—Vanilla planifolia (syn. Vanilla fragrans) and Vanilla pompona Schiede. A third, grown in Tahiti, Vanilla tahitensis, is believed to have been created by crossing V. planifolia
and V. pompona in a laboratory in Manila in the 1700s, although there is some confusion on this point. Most commercial vanilla is produced from Vanilla planifolia, indigenous to Central America and Southeast Mexico.
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Last edited by damaclese : 04-20-2009 at 09:29 AM.