Orchids of the World                                                                                                                                     Home

Have you ever wondered -- Where in the world do orchids grow in the wild?

The answer is almost everywhere in the world.  Many orchids are found growing in the tropical regions of the world, like South America, Central America, Africa, and the Indo-China region.  Orchids also grow in the temperate regions, both north and south of the equator, like the United States, Europe, China, Russia and Australia.  Orchids are also found in rather cold areas, including within the Arctic Circle, like in the state of Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and northern Russia.  They can be found in the southern hemisphere as far south as Tierra del Fuego and Macquarie Island. 

There are only a few countries in the world that do not have any orchids that grow within their boundaries.  There are a few desert countries in the north of Africa and the Middle East, young coral islands of the Pacific, or very isolated older islands that do not have any orchids.  They are also not found on the continent of Antarctica. 

They say that a "picture is worth a thousand words" so to help you see where orchids can be found growing in the world you can visit the webmap titled: Orchids of the World.  On the map you will see points that you can click on that will give the number of wild orchid species that can be found in that country, region, state or island along with the number of endemic species.  In some of the larger countries, such as Canada, United States, Mexico, India, China, Russia and Australia there are totals for both the whole country (in green) and for states or regional areas (in blue) within those countries.

Much of the data that was used in the Orchids of the World webmap came from the Illustrated World Compendium of Orchids by Michael Hassler & Joachim Rheinheimer.  The List of Taxa can be viewed on the world wide web at http://worldplants.webarchiv.kit.edu/orchids/statistics.php.  On this site are listings of the reference material that was used to come up with the species count for each country.  Also on that site is a database of pictures of orchid species.  I recommend that you visit the site as it is a very interesting and informative website that they have put together.  This webmap was originally created in 2012, however it has now been updated in December of 2016.

To visit the Orchids of the World webmap you will be taken to the ESRI ArcGIS online website.  I believe that you will find this online webmap to be very informative and no doubt surprising as you find out -- Where in the world do orchids grow?   (Mike Harrington, December 2016)

                             

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