Chapter three
Morphology of orchids

This chapter contains a detailed overview of the varied and complex structure of orchids. The morphology of terrestrial orchids is explained and compared to that of epiphytic orchids. Composite photographic plates of floral and vegetative orchid structures, and scanning electron micrographs of pollinaria and seeds are included.
Although the evolutionary relationships among orchids are now largely determined using molecular data, classifications are still based on morphological characteristics. The structure of orchids, particularly their flowers, is unusually complex and may confuse the uninitiated. This chapter and the Glossary of botanical terms will help the reader to use the botanical descriptions contained in the species accounts.

1. Growth habits
2. Underground stems / organs
3. Leaves
4. Inflorescences
5. Flower and seed structure
6. Colour mutations and other floral anomalies

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Leaf morphology Floral morphology