Orchids “steal, lie, cheat” and look impudently good while doing so.
As you can see in the picture above, tropical orchids often grow directly on the trunk of big trees. Their roots do not grow into the tree to steal it’s water and nutrients but rather just use them to hold themselves on the bark. There exist other adaptations and you can find orchids growing in soil as well as directly on stones. However compared to the orchids found in Europe (all of them are terrestrial = growing in soil) most of the tropical orchids are so called epiphytes (= growing on trees) similar to the Cattleya mossiae in the picture.
It did not take long after the beginning of orchid growing in England that people also tried to cross different species of orchid with each other to create new and never seen hybrids with superior flowers or easier care. The close to endless possibilities for combinations lead to more than 100.000 registered hybrids of orchids whose popularity never ceases.