Let's stay in South America for now.. moving up further north, this postcard is one of the few cards I have received from Venezuela. Orchid is the national flower and natural emblem of Venezuela and the one here looks particularly beautiful (purple is one of my favourite colours, too!).
The Orchidaceae or orchid family is a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with colorful and fragrant blooms. Along with the Asteraceae, it is one of the two largest families of flowering plants, with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species, found in 880 genera. Selecting which of the two families is larger remains elusive because of the difficulties associated with putting hard species numbers on such enormous groups. Regardless, the number of orchid species equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species. It also encompasses about 6–11% of all seed plants. The largest genera are Bulbophyllum (2,000 species), Epidendrum (1,500 species), Dendrobium (1,400 species) and Pleurothallis (1,000 species).
The family also includes Vanilla (the genus of the vanilla plant), Orchis (type genus), and many commonly cultivated plants such as Phalaenopsis and Cattleya (the one shown here, unless I'm very much mistaken). Moreover, since the introduction of tropical species in the 19th century, horticulturists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.