The following focuses on plant habitats, and in particular how they affect orchid culture in this country. One facet of natural habitats for most of the orchids grown in this country is significantly different from the conditions naturally experienced here, and this will be highlighted, together with other significant aspects.

HABITAT 4. 
HIGH ALTITUDE TROPICAL 
or 
HIGH LATITUDE HABITAT

Introduction

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ORCHIDS
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HABITAT

The final habitat to be discussed.

This habitat is found in two situations -

* In tropical regions, at high altitudes, where cooler conditions are experienced, and
* High latitude areas such as New Zealand

In tropical countries this habitat exists at an altitude above Habitat 2, generally extending from 1850 metres altitude to the permanent snow line, characteristically at some 3500 metres altitude. Our discussion will concentrate on the tropical habitats as this is the source of most orchids of interest culturally.

Plants in culture commonly found here include some cymbidiums, odontoglossums, coelogynes, and, of course, at our high latitude situation, our own native orchids. The climate is characterised in the tropics by:-

* Fogs and mists prevalent for much of the year
* Light levels high during the winter, more shaded during the summer months
* Cool conditions
* Constant air movement
* Subject to the monsoonal conditions experienced in the other main habitats in tropical areas.
* There are some epiphytes, but terrestrial orchids predominate, especially at the highest altitudes.
* Climate conditions are relatively stable at the highest levels, with some seasonal variation more apparent at the lowest levels merging with Habitat 2, although there are seasonal temperature variations.

From the tropical areas, as one travels to higher latitude localities, cooler temperate areas will be reached, and New Zealand lies in such an area Epiphytes are generally found here to a limited extent only as the cooler conditions are not conducive to their growth. There are, however, many terrestrial orchids able to thrive under such conditions.

 

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