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cattleya(kăt`lēə): see orchidorchid,
popular name for members of the Orchidaceae, a family of perennial herbs widely distributed in both hemispheres. The unusually large family (of some 450 genera and an estimated 10,000 to 17,500 species) includes terrestrial, epiphytic (see epiphyte), and saprophytic
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a genus of plants of the family Orchidaceae. There are approximately 60 species, growing on trees and cliffs in the forests of Central and South America. The thickened stems, or pseudobulbs, are either ovoid, fusiform, or cylindric. The pseudobulbs hold reserves of water and nutrients during droughts. They bear one to three leaves and a peduncle with one or several flowers. The perianth has six petal-like structures, arranged in two circles. The interior three are usually larger; the lowest, or the lip, which is often the brightest, is curled into a tube around the column. The lip has a spreading, emarginate lobe with an undulate border. The flowers are usually various shades of violet, pink, and lilac. They are aromatic and measure up to 20–25 cm in diameter. Many species, including autumn cattleya (Cattleya labiatd), C. dowiana, and C. Warscewiczii, are cultivated in greenhouses. Many garden varieties have been created.