Subscribe to our blog to get articles delivered directly to your inbox

The Orchid Care Glossary from M to P

August 19, 2010

Learning orchid terminology involves a refresher on basic biology, so we’ve included links to help you out. Here are letters “M” through “P” from the American Orchid Society’s glossary.

- the material in which an orchid is container-grown, it may be organic such as fir bark or inorganic such as lava rock.

Mericlone - a plant derived from tissue culture that is identical to its parent. More info is available on the Orchids Wiki!

Meristem - the actively growing area of the plant from which mature tissues such as leaf, stems, flowers and roots originate.

Micropropagation - the use of tissue culture to grow inactive axillary buds into whole plants with very little somaclonal variation, unlike adventitious propagation.

  • Axillary buds - new growths in the area between the upper side of a leaf or stem and the supporting stem or branch.
  • Somaclonal variation involves genetics – here’s the Wikipedia explanation.

Monopodial - orchids which grow upward from a single stem producing leaves and flowers along that stem. Phalaenopsis orchids are included in this group.

Node - a joint on a stem or pseudobulb from which a leaf or growth originates.

Panicle - an inflorescence with a main stem and branches, the flowers on the lower branches open earlier than the upper ones.

  • Inflorescence - the flowering portion of a plant.
  • From a loose, open, branching cluster of flowers that bloom from the center or bottom toward the edges or top. Examples of plants that produce panicles are yucca, catalpa, and baby's breath.

Photosynthesis - the process a plant uses to produce carbohydrates and sugar from water and carbon dioxide in the air using chlorophyll-containing cells exposed to light. For a refresher, check out this online biology book!

Polyploid - a plant with more than the normal two sets of chromosomes. Brush up with the Wikipedia entry for Chromosomes.

Pseudobulb - a thickened portion of the stem of many orchids functioning as a water and food storage device.