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The same, but different - Orchids

These are orchids, too, but different and somewhat less familiar than the Phalaenopsis we so often see. Even so, these special beauties feature spectacular flowers and leaves with splendid colours and patterns. They're also just as easy to care for and definitely just as charismatic.

Each and every one is a little work of art: discover the Dendrobium, Cambria, Oncidium and Paphiopedilum.

The eccentric Dendrobium
Here's an orchid with a mind of its own: green leaves growing straight out from their stem and interspersed with flowers, flowers and more flowers. The Dendrobium is an orchid like no other in its family. Its thick stem - so unlike the slender stems of other orchids - gives it a bold robust look. But it's not just its appearance that's makes this orchid look so vigorous: it can withstand the challenges of just about any natural environment. It usually grows as an epiphyte on the branches of trees located on cool mountainsides, in jungles and in hot deserts. What a strong and eccentric plant!

Cambria, the chameleon
With its extraordinary flowers and graceful green stems, Cambria has a delightful appearance that seems to come straight out of the jungle. But looks can be deceiving: since Cambria is a cross between different orchid genera, it does not grow in the wild. This mix of special genes from the 'parent' plants explains the variety of shapes and shades in which Cambria, a real chameleon, is available.   


The tiger-like Oncidium
The small, colourful flowers of the Oncidium are at the centre of attention. Its tall, delicate flower spike holds up a myriad of elegant blooms, each with a strikingly large lip. The shape of its flowers is also unique: when looked at closely, they resemble elegantly dressed dancers. And the bloom's tiger-like colours and markings have led to one of its common names: the Tiger Orchid. Actually, it's hard to take your eyes off an Oncidium covered in an abundance of beautiful flowers.

The elegant Paphiopedilum
What could be more beautiful than a Paphiopedilum with its distinctive lip, slender stem, flamboyant petals and green leaves? It's also called the 'Venus Slipper' due to its unique lip shaped like the toe of a shoe. Actually, this lip acts to trap insects that will then help to pollinate other Paphiopedilums. Flying insects are lured to the flower by aromatic substances. They can then only access the nectar by squeezing through a narrow opening in which they pass over the flower's pistil and stamen. The pollen clings to the insect that then flies to the next Paphiopedilum where it deposits the pollen onto this flower's pistil.