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Lifespan of monopodial orchids.

This is a discussion on Lifespan of monopodial orchids. within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have been told that orchids can life "forever" (I guess it was rather an ...

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    Default Lifespan of monopodial orchids.

    I have been told that orchids can life "forever" (I guess it was rather an exaggeration). Apparently the reason was simple: the orchids produce a new growth, and, while old pseudobulbs can die, there is always another one to replace them. My question is, which is the lifespan of monopodial orchids, then?

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    If the plant is well cared for, it can be for a long time. My oldest Phal. is more than twenty years old and still going strong .

    susan

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    Susan that just awesome... a 20yrs old phal whoa.... i'd be lucky if i can get a phal to live for just a year in my care hehehe. How big is your phal now?

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    Totally agree with you Randy...I count them by the months...let the years take care of itself......

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    I don't think monopodials, or for that matter any orchid has a 'life-span' and die of old age. Those that die on us die from diseases, attacks from pests, accidents or from bad culture.

    In nature they thrive and flourish unless the ecosystem has been upset by nature itself or most probably by human intervention.

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    I've seen a few orchids that are 20+ years old and they can get really big, and when they bloom they put on such a wondeful show. I think that orchid can probably live forever as long as it doesnt get infected with a virus and it gets the culture it needs

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    But all plants have a lifespan. All but orchids, apparently. Why can phals and other monopodial plants live forever? I should ask a biologist or something. I wish I knew one.

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    As a plant molecular biologist I can shed some more light on this topic for those interested.

    I would like to give you an analogy of a food recipe.

    1) I have a master recipe for a chocolate cake, I pass on the recipe with the exact ingredients and quantities to a friend.

    2) My friend makes a minor error unknowingly, he uses 2% milk instead of 3.5 % milk in the recipe, the cake quality changes only slightly, but it is still a delicious chocolate cake.

    3) He now passes on this altered recipe to his friend who uses say a 100 ml of the There is constant wear and tear of cells and hence old cells die and new cells milk instead of 120 ml, the result still is a drier chocolate cake.

    4) Now this further altered recipe is passed on to another friend who reduces the amount of coco and increases the amount of flour.

    Now imagine this happening hundreds and hundreds of time, in the end the recipe will become so flawed that the result be NO chocolate cake !!

    As you can see the errors done at each step are minor but when you add them up they are significant to the point that reproducing the recipe is not possible

    Now all living things have a recipe/ basic blue print or a design so to say which is DNA ( RNA or even proteins). Each cell passes on the blueprint or recipe to the next cells which are its daughter cells. As happens with the cake recipe there are errors in the execution, very minor in nature but errors, and the blue print is slightly altered. Over the years these errors accumulate and the blue print is altered significantly, this is what is called a mutation. Now further as time passes mutations begin to accumulate such that there is a significant alteration in the function of tissues, organs or organ systems, if that function is a vital one like respiration, digestion etc the organism perishes as it is unable to do the vital function. This is the basic process of aging in all living organisms.

    So if it was not for disease plants still wouldn't be immortal, some day they would be so mutated and full of flaws that they wouldn't be able to photosynthesize, absorb water/ nutrients sufficiently or lose their ability to produce new cells itself and finally die.

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    Oh its soo long, I didn't realize it. Coming back to the original question the lifespan of any orchid or any perennial plant for that matter will be well over the life span of a couple of generations of humans for sure. I am already thinking about an insurance policy or a foundation that will take care of my orchids after me, in case my future generations are not so keen on keeping my orchids happy LOL.

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    Well, that's a great explanation. Thanks! I wasn't actually expecting a biologist to pop out, hahaha!

    It's definitely a good idea, haha. Who knows?

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