Orchidaceae : Orchid Family

Orchidaceae Taxonomy

Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Monocoteldonae (one seed-leaf)

Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)

Genera: 8

Species: 11

Amerorchis rotundifolia (Round-leaved Orchid)

Calypso bulbosa (Fairy-slipper)

Corallorhiza trifida (Coral Root)

Cypripedium calceolus (Small Yellow Lady's-slipper)

Cypripedium guttatum (Spotted Lady's-slipper)

Cypripedium passerinum (Small White Lady's-slipper)

Goodyera repens (Dwarf Rattlesnake-plantain)

Listeria borealis (Northern Twayblade)

Platanthera hyperborea (Northern Green Orchid)

Platanthera obtusata (Northern Bog Orchid)

Spiranthes romanzoffiana (Hooded Ladies'-tresses)

English Name(s):

Orchid Family

Gwich'in Name:

Orchidaceae Traits


Natural History:

  • Is the largest family of plants on earth by number of species.
  • Most species are tropical.
  • Many orchids are very specialized and many are very rare.

Family Size:


Genera: 735

Species: 20,000 (worlds largest family)

North America:

Genera: 88

Species: 285


Genera: 10

Species: 15

Illustrated Key To Orchidaceae Species

Amerorchis rotundifolia

Calypso bulbosa

Corallorhiza trifida

Cypripedium calceolus

Cypripedium passerinum

Cypripedium guttatum

Goodyera repens

Literia borealis

Spiranthes romazoffiana

Platanthera abtusata

Platanthera hyperborea

Dicotomous Key To Orchidaceae Species

Orchidaceae Genera

Amerorchis (syn. Orchis) (American Orchid)

  • One seed pod produces aproximately 1,110 seeds

World (Orchis)= 50 sps.

N.A.= 2 sps.

Yukon= 1 sps.

Calypso (Fairy Slipper)

  • In North America represented by 1 species

World= ? sps.

N.A.= 1 sps.

Yukon= 1 sps.

Corallorhiza (Coral Root)

  • Saprophytic plants, feed on dead organic matter.
  • The greenish colour of our species indicates it does have some chlorophyll unlike most Corallorhiza
  • One seed pod produces 1,200-1,550 seeds.

World= 15 sps.

N.A.= 6 sps.

Yukon= 1 sps.

Cypripedium (Lady's-slipper)

  • The flowers have 2 anthers which is considered primitive in Orchid family.
  • The flowers act as insect traps. They are easy to enter but only way out insect must touch first the pistil where the insect will transfer any pollen it maybe carying. The insect then passes the anthers where it will pick up new pollen on its way out.
  • Each seed pod produces 15,300-15,700 seeds.

World= 50 sps.

N.A.= 10 sps.

Yukon= 3 sps.

Goodyera (Rattlesnake-plantain)

  • Can form extensive colonies by cloning.
  • Seed pods produce 238-419 seeds each.

World= 100 sps.

N.A.= 4 sps.

Yukon= 1 sps.

Listeria (Twayblade)

  • Flowers visited most frequently by small beetles of the genus Grammoptera. They are also visited by bees and wasps.
  • Flowers secrete nectar to atract these insects and lead them to the stigma. When touched the stigma exudes a drop of sticky fluid onto the forehead of the insect and onto the pollen mass immediately above. It hardens very quickly cementing the pollen to the insect.

World= 30 sps.

N.A.= 7 sps.

Yukon= 2 sps.

Platanthera (syn. Habenaria)(Bog Orchid)

World= 450 sps.

N.A.= 35 sps.

Yukon= 4 sps.

Spiranthes (Ladies'-tresses)

World= 35 sps.

N.A.= 25 sps.

Yukon= 1 sps.

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