The orchid family, Orchidaceae, is one of the two largest families of flowering plants, containing approximately 738 genera (groups of species) of the plants commonly known as Orchids. Around 24, 500 species are known to science. However estimates vary and new species are discovered or bred every year. This means care instructions depend on the genera and species. When you buy an orchid, research what the species' natural environment is like and try to replicate that at home. Some like it warm and wet, some cool and dry (ish), so a little homework is needed! Orchid plants vary hugely in their appearance - they are perennial herbaceous plants which can flower every year, many producing colourful, patterned stripy or spotty flowers, which often have a strong scent. Most orchids are grown for their flowers, rather than their leaves. However as this family is massive and diverse, it contains some species which have very attractive foliage and some flowers could even be considered ugly, with hairs and wart-like structures! Scent varies across different plants – some produce strongly scented blooms, others only slightly fragrant flowers, and some species do not have scents at all. Some notable genera from this family include Bulbophyllum, with around 2059 species, Epidendrum with approximately 1630 species, Dendrobium with roughly 1547 species and Pleurothallis with around 539 species. The family Orchidaceae also contains Vanilla plants, from which vanilla flavouring is produced. You can find out more in-depth care information for many species and cultivars on their individual plant profiles.