Most plants generate nourishment by converting energy from the sun into chemical energy, a process that is known as photosynthesis. However, some orchid species and variants have followed unusual paths of evolution, and they have ceased to photosynthesize. Altogether, there are close to 400 vascular plant species in the world that do not photosynthesis, and the cymbidium macrorhizon orchid is one of them. Found in Japan and Southeast Asia, this orchid species is leafless and parasitic on fungi.
The Just Add Ice Orchids (Phalaenopsis orchids) you find at your local store do use photosynthesis and unlike the non-photosynthesizing cymbidium macrorhizon orchid, do need light to survive.
What’s interesting and may forecast changes for orchid lovers is that botanists from Japan have successfully produced blooming hybrid orchids through the crossbreeding of the non-photosynthetic cymbidium macrorhizon and a photosynthetic orchid called cymbidium ensifolium. Could our Just Add Ice Orchids of the future not need light to grow and flower?
Could Orchids of the Future Not Need Sunlight?
As for the interesting test the Japanese are trying with two varieties of orchids, they started crossbreeding the two orchid species artificially in 2006, and they grew the seeds they obtained in glass bottles. In the middle of October this year, flowers that were 3 to 4 cm in size began to bloom, and they have yellow-green petals with reddish purple spots.
There are presently about 50 hybrids growing in the Tsukuba Botanical Garden. Three of these hybrids have bloomed, and they will be displayed to visitors. It will be interesting to see as the study progresses if bloom shape and size can be affected with hybridization to create an eye-appealing new variety with wide sales appeal.
For Now, Your Phalaenopsis Orchid Still Needs Light
For now however, your beautiful Just Add Ice Orchid still needs light in order to grow and flower. What type of growth properties our orchids will have in the future may be potentially based on this cutting edge testing and hybridization. Rest assured that our growers are watching and testing hybridization techniques to provide the most beautiful orchids for your home. Visit our website to read more news about orchid hybrids.
To learn more about lighting needs for your Phalaenopsis orchid, watch our Orchid Care Video here.