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Continuing Through the Glossary from B to E Orchid Anatomy

July 14, 2010

Until you get a hang of orchid lingo, glossaries of orchid terminology can be more confusing than helpful. So we thought we’d do our part to connect the dots and fill in the blanks! Here’s our little additions to the orchid terms from the American Orchid Society’s glossary, covering the letters “B” through “E”.

- an old pseudobulb behind the part of a sympodial orchid that is actively growing. Although there may be no leaves the presence of undamaged "eyes" is a sign that growth is possible. For more info, go to!

  • Pseudobulb - a thickened portion of the stem of many orchids functioning as a water and food storage device.
  • Sympodial - orchids which grow laterally and produce leafy growths along a rhizome. Sympodial means "with conjoined feet", and photo examples may help explain the difference between a monopodial orchid like the Phalaenopsis orchid and sympodial orchids.
  • Rhizome - a root-bearing stem of sympodial orchids that progressively sends up leafy shoots.

Bifoliate - having two leaves.

Cane - an elongated psuedobulb, usually used when describing Dendrobiums. Dendrobium a genus of orchids

Crock - small pieces of broken earthenware or flower pots, placed in the bottom of a pot when repotting to aid in drainage.

Cultivar - an individual plant and its vegetative propagations in cultivation; a horticultural variety. Plant propagation is the production of more plants by seeds, cuttings, grafting or other methods

Diploid - a plant with two sets of chromosomes. The normal condition.

Epiphyte, epiphytic - a plant which naturally grows upon another plant but does not derive any nourishment from it. Many of the orchids in cultivation are epiphytic.

Eye - the bud of a sympodial orchid that will eventually develop into a new lead.