By John Nelson
Which plants display the showiest, most flamboyant flowers? Some will insist they are the various orchid species. The orchid family truly is a giant group, easily the largest plant family in the world, in terms of number of different species. Orchids as a family cover the earth — almost. They are indeed known from all but the coldest parts of the planet. Many are epiphytic, or growing on the branches of trees, but quite a large number, too, are terrestrial, at home on the ground. Some are even weeds.