Parts of an Orchid

It is good to know the different parts of an orchid.  The flowers have six main parts.

  • Three sepals
  • Two petals
  • One labellum (meaning tongue)

Another important feature of the orchid is the column.  This is where the pollen is found.  The ovary behind the flower will swell after pollination, and the seed develops in it.

Orchid have a feature called a bract.  This is like a leaf, but in botany is not considered one.  In identification of some orchids, particularly Thelymirtra or Sun Orchid, the number of bracts can assist in orchid identification.

Images from: Start with the Leaves: A simple guide to common orchids and lilies of the Adelaide Hills by Robert Lawrence © 2011
Used with kind permission from the author.

23 thoughts on “Parts of an Orchid

  1. Violin Bug

    I found this “anatomy of an orchid” most interesting. Takes me back to the days when as a child my brother, a botany major at Trinity College in Connecticut would take me out in the field and collect wild flowers with me. Then he’d bring me home and challenge me to recognize the flowers and trees seen in the field in the Golden Book nature series he bought for me. Any specimens I could properly recognize and remember the names of he would apply a color stamp with that specimen’s image on it in another collector’s book he found for me.

    1. Helen Post author

      A lovely story. The flowers and plants we have here in Australia are very different to those found in America, but you would probably recognize a few of our weeds.

    2. Louise

      You might like an early post Orchid Rose put up. She found a link to a botany book online and it has a whole chapter on orchids. The post is called A Curiosity.

  2. Sharon

    What an amazing blog! I do quite a bit of art (most in fact) with wildlife and am adding more and more habitat to the artwork. Great to find a resource to learn more. Thanks!

    1. Helen Post author

      Thank you. The pictures are from “Start with the Leaves” by Robert Lawrence. The book is about fifty common orchids in the Adelaide Hills, and orchid look-a-likes. However it can be used to identify orchids outside of South Australia. Would you like me to post more articles like this one?

  3. David Hertzberg

    Thank you for following me. You have a nice blog here. Fascinating actually. Seems as if orchids are like people in their intricate anatomical construction.

    1. Helen Post author

      Knowing the parts of an orchid can help in identification. Some orchids that grow here are very similar. Do you have many orchids in Indonesia? I would love to see pictures of them, if you have any. 🙂

    2. pleisbilongtumi

      Yes we do have thousands species of Orchids throughout the country include cross and wild orchids. only few of them grow in my house garden. you can see it in my previous post in Nature category but not all of them.

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