Orchids are the most cosmopolitan of flowering plant families, found everywhere on Earth except dry deserts and cold glaciers. They are thought to be one of the largest flowering plant families and contain around 25,000 species. They are most numerous in the world's tropical areas where big, showy flowers are produced, although the flowers of species found elsewhere are no less beautiful. Orchids have developed some highly specialized pollination systems, often producing attractively shaped and colourful flowers that sometimes look similar to the insects that pollinate them. Some species of orchid are now very rare.

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