Orchids of the World  -  2018 Update                                                                                           Home

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

The answer is almost everywhere in the world.  While the majority of orchids are found growing in the tropical regions of the world, they 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.  There are only a small number of countries that do not have any indigenous orchids.

To help you visualize where orchids can be found a webmap titled: Orchids of the World was developed.  On the map you can click on a marker that will list the number of wild orchid species that can be found in that country, region, state or island.  When available it will also include the number of endemic orchid species found there.  In some of the larger countries, such as Canada, United States, Mexico, India, China, Russia and Australia there are numbers for both the whole country (green markers) and for states or regional areas (blue markers) within those countries.

The data used comes from three sources.  1. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plants Database, accessed in December 2018 for the U.S.A. and Canada.  2. The article “Status of Orchid Conservation in India, Part 1” by Dr Sadananda Hegde published in the December 2016 issue of The Orchid Society of Karnataka (TOSKAR) newsletter for India.  3. The Illustrated World Compendium of Orchids – List of Taxa compiled by Michael Hassler and Joachim Rheinheimer updated June 24, 2018 for all other countries and islands.

It should be noted that the species counts are only the "best estimates" because new species are being discovered each year and orchid habitat is constantly being changed by human activity and changes in weather patterns.

To view 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 2018)


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