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This genus of vine-like plants has a monopodial climbing habitus. They can form long thin stems with a length of more than 35 m, with alternate leaves spread along their length. The short, oblong, dark green leaves of Vanilla are thick and leathery, even fleshy in some species. But there are also a significant number of species that have their leaves reduced to scales or have become nearly or totally leafless and appear to use their green climbing stems for photosynthesis. Long and strong aerial roots grow from each node.
Most Vanilla flowers have a sweet scent.
Iwanagara is a cross between Brassavola x Cattleya x Diacrium x Laelia. They are grown the same way as Cattleyas.
Iwanagara need bright light, and a little morning or afternoon sun is good.
Cool to cold growing epiphyte or occasional terrestrial.
Z. strateumatica, has become naturalized in southern Florida after being introduced into the area as an adventive with Centipede Grass from China (this is where the Florida nickname "Centipede Grass Orchid" came from for this species.) Looks too nice to be just a weed! It emerges in winter, blooming in late December and January; within a few weeks, the plants vanish. The following year, they may return, and from the same root a new plant will grow next to the previous one.
Most are epiphytes, but some are terrestrials with glossy, strap-like, plicate leaves. They are known for their ease of culture and are much in demand as excellent cut flowers.