by Crazy George
The continued existence of the plant is completely reliant upon the foliage, terete leaves which have become completely rounded, thinner than a pencil, their surface reduced to the minimum to prevent overheating and dehydration. No part of the plant is soft, the roots are thin and wiry, the leaves hard, almost rough to the touch. Thus the plant is able to stand a severe climate, at the same time capable of extracting what little moisture there is available through its foliage.
The more typical elongated but plump pseudobulbs have here been reduced to thin stems which branch and rebranch, each stem clothed in thin, narrow leaves until the whole plant becomes a loose bundle of stems and leaves.
Lacking the rigidity to grow upright the plant forms a pendent green shower, ideally fitted to a cooler climate which. experiences high winds. In cultivation it is ideally suited to culture on bark.
The genus Vanda belongs to the large group of monopodials which are widely distributed throughout Africa and the Indian subcontinent, the Far East and Northern Australia. The plants grow by producing a single upright rhizome with leaves on alternate sides. New leaves always come from the top.
Both plants come from tropical America. Their small stature is gaccessful wherever there is sufficient moisture for their needs, although many of these tiny plants exist on the very extremities of the thinnest tree branches in what would appear to be very dry conditions. The leaves are responsible for maintaining the plant’s ore of moisture.
One further adaption in orchids can be found among the epidendrums. The species E. falcatum retains all its weight in the thick, heavy leaves. The root system is not numerous, but s-ong enough to hold a heavy plant firmly in its place on a tree. The pseudobulbs are merely short stems which support the long, spears-lriaped leaves which, rough and hard, will withstand a harsh environment.