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Pan-tropical orchid trivia

Discussion in 'Everything Else Orchid' started by naoki, May 27, 2017.

  1. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Here is a possibly fun trivia question.

    It is a sad era when we realized that there are still xenophobia in this modern society. We are still bounded by artificial borders and far away from what John Lennon imagined in 1971. But some orchids have achieved world-wide distributions!

    How many orchid genera can you think with pan-tropic distributions? For example, Bulbophyllum is pan-tropically distributed because Bulbophyllum species can be found in all tropic regions (Asia, Africa, and the Americas).

    What's your rough guess of number of pan-tropic genera in orchid family? There are more than 1700 orchid genera.

    I was reading an orchid Ph.D Dissertation, and I came across this info. I was surprised that I only knew a small fraction of the pan-tropic genera. So I thought that it might be fun to share this trivia. (I won't be checking the thread for the Memorial day weekend since we will be doing family gold panning!)
     
  2. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Fun question, Naoki. I would have guessed less than 10 but your question makes me think there must be many more. I suspect most are obscure terrestrials.

    Hope you have/had success and fun gold panning.
     
  3. AnonYMouse

    AnonYMouse aka Ree, the not-so-stealthy lurker

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    We are talking about the most diverse and adapted family in the kingdom so I suspect the number to be in the mid to high hundreds. I'll guess 700ish.

    Have fun panning!
     
  4. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    Genera, that's tough. However, if we broaden that, Cypripedioideae?
     
  5. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Daniel, I don't think there is an African species in Cypripedioideae, is there?

    Ree, it turned out that even though there are so many genera in orchid family, but most genera are somewhat regional. Ricardo posted about the oldest orchid fossil, but orchid family may not be old enough, or maybe they are diverging so fast that genera are more finely divided (by human).

    Kelly's guess is very close. 11 genera are pan-tropically distributed: Bulbophyllum, Calanthe, Corymborkis, Epipactis, Eulophia, Goodyera, Habenaria, Liparis, Malaxis, Polystachya, and Vanilla. It is interesting that there are more terrestrial genera than epiphytic genera. I wonder why.

    If you include naturalized species in the Americas, we can add two more, Phaius and Zeuxine. Other non-tropic (i.e. temperate) orchids with world-wide distributions include Dactylorhiza, Neottia, Platanthera, and Spiranthes.

    This info was from the introduction of a thesis:
    Russell, A. 2010. Molecular phylogeny, genome evolution and biogeography of Polystachya (Orchidaceae). Ph. D Dissertation, Universit├Ąt Wien. (link to PDF)
     
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  6. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Interesting info. Thanks.