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Mutualistic Relationships Of Orchidacea
As I venture on my own Orchid journey, each component I sculpt leads to a rabbit hole of others; blooms, then insects, the pollen, the fungi, the mosses, and more. Often I find falling in love with the subject matter helps to build the work in the studio or visa versa.
The family of orchids is an amazing exploration for anyone, as there is so much more about orchids than their beauty and placement in our living rooms. Darwin found in his exploration of orchids " The contrivances for insect fertilization in orchids are multiform and truly wonderful and beautiful".
Barbara Gravendeel of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands, said that the new studies show how orchids owe their diversity to a series of innovations. In one example, more often than not orchids evolved with their pollinators.
The amazing diversity in the evolution of orchids is partially due to its Pollinia. Like a sticky ball of pollen that is packet-like, it evolution led to unique ways to deliver it. This may have also led to reproductive barriers giving birth to new species. Pollinia is deposited often on the head of a visiting insect.
As I sculpt a tiny sample of the myriad of insect pollinators to grace the porcelain orchids I discover their amazing relationships, uniquely evolved for each kind of flower.
Orchids also have their own supportive links to mycorrhizae. Young orchids have co-relationships with fungi ('fungi symbionts'-cool name!) supplying them with carbohydrates and the fungi with moisture and more. Mosses and other animal partners also cooexist with orchids and make good examples of a world connected on every level, developed to collaborate in order to survive and change.
The journey of orchid evolution is fascinating. I have been reading books like: Understanding orchids:.... by WIlliam Cullina, Fertilisation of Orchids by Charles Darwin, and even The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean.