Orchids are the high-kicking, strutting, show-offs of the flower world. The world's most evolved flower, they have a structure that Charles Darwin described as the most perfectly adapted in nature. Unlike primitive flowers with their fan of identical petals, most orchids have taken on extravagant shapes and intricate designs to better attract the insects that pollinate them.
Yet the heart of the flower is simplified. The seed-producing ovary is tucked safely beneath the flower, while the stamen and stigma sit on a central column. It is here that the essential business of pollination takes place. After this the flower produces thousands of tiny seeds that scatter on the wind before taking root, growing and blooming all over again.