Primitive Orchids

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The genera Neuwiedia and Apostasia represent something quite interesting. What you are looking at here are believed to be two of the most primitive extant orchid lineages. Unlike most orchids, which have a single fertile stamen fused with a single pistil, these genera have 3 and 2 fertile stamens respectively. Though botanists hesitate to consider these genera ancestral to all other orchid lineages, they nonetheless feel that they represent a very primitive sister-group to other basal orchid lineages such as the cypripediads. They can be found in parts of China, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Queensland, with Neuwiedia having the smallest distribution. 

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Photo Credit: Rachmat Setiawan Saleh (http://bit.ly/Zuy37j), Johannes Lundberg (http://bit.ly/1ydRIah), and chipmunk1 (http://bit.ly/1sjMJTh)

Further Reading: 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1095-8339.1993.tb00331.x/abstract