How to Cite

Benzing, D. (1981). WHY IS ORCHIDACEAE SO LARGE, ITS SEEDS SO SMALL, AND ITS SEEDLINGS MYCOTROPHIC?. Selbyana, 5(3/4), 241–242. Retrieved from https://ojs.test.flvc.org/selbyana/article/view/119734


The biology of the orchids is sometimes summarized as five facts: (1) Orchidaceae is probably the largest ofall angiosperm families; (2) its seeds are among the smallest of any taxon; (3) the resulting seedlings are mycotrophic; (4) many of its species are rare or widely dispersed; and (5) they often rely on very specialized pollination relationships for sexual propagation. Is there any adaptive or evolutionary significance in this association of conspicuous family characteristics? Pollinator behavior has certainly played a major role in orchid speciation and currently facilitates the diffuse distribution of many populations, but what about the tiny seeds and unusual mode of seedling nutrition?


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