Orchids with Hirsute or Frilly Flowers (series 3)


Ruffles and flourishes are found not only in the flamboyant fanfare in ceremonial music for distinguished people, but also on certain showy orchids, as if Mother Nature, and sometimes hybridizers, have enlisted decorative techniques in sewing and dressmaking, such that ruffles, frills, furbelows, laces, ribbons, streamers, tentacles, trimmings or other extensions are tightly gathered or pleated on the edges or surfaces of petals, sepals and labella. Hirsute and frilly orchids seem to have acquired extra powers to titillate the senses of their beholders, and to impart extra movements and rhythms to their garments. Breezes easily ripple and undulate the floral trichomes, massaging the fine hairs, fanning the intricate outgrowths and gently rocking the appendages adorning the perimeters of such blossoms.

According to Wikipedia:

In biology, an indumentum (Latin, literally: “garment”) is a covering of trichomes (fine “hairs”) on a plant or of bristles (rarely scales) of an insect.

In plants, indumentum types include:

  • pubescent
  • hirsute
  • pilose
  • villous
  • tomentose
  • stellate
  • scabrous
  • scurfy

The hairy nature of plants can be characterized as follows:

In describing the surface appearance of plant organs, such as stems and leaves, many terms are used in reference to the presence, form, and appearance of trichomes. The most basic terms used are glabrous—lacking hairs— and pubescent—having hairs. Details are provided by:

  • glabrous, glabrate – lacking hairs or trichomes; surface smooth
  • hirsute – coarsely hairy
  • hispid – having bristly hairs
  • articulate – simple pluricellular-uniseriate hairs
  • downy – having an almost wool-like covering of long hairs
  • pilose – pubescent with long, straight, soft, spreading or erect hairs
  • puberulent – minutely pubescent; having fine, short, usually curly, hairs
  • pubescent – bearing hairs or trichomes of any type
  • strigillose – minutely strigose
  • strigose – having straight hairs all pointing in more or less the same direction as along a margin or midrib
  • tomentellous – minutely tomentose
  • tomentose – covered with dense, matted, woolly hairs
  • villosulous – minutely villous
  • villous – having long, soft hairs, often curved, but not matted

Do you like some of your orchid flowers to be hairy, bushy, bearded, fuzzy, furry, frilly, lacy, scruffy, shaggy, fringed, longhaired or hirsute? Which specimen(s) below appeal to you and why? Reply in the comment box below.

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