The family of monocotyledonous plants which includes the orchids. The orchids are very popular because they are intricate, perceived as exotic, and often can be rare. These attributes are celebrated in the novel The Orchid Thief. Some local genera are Platanthera, Cypripedium, and Piperia. More showy, commercially available genera are Polyrrhiza, Cyrtopodium, Cycnoches, and Paphiopedilum. Many orchids are epiphytes (an idea which Neal Stephenson latched onto in his last novel, Cryptonomicon). Also, many commercially available orchids are hybrids (crosses between closely related species).

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