How to identify NoID orchids? (It can be done)

NoID orchids

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If you have ever bought orchids from a grocery store or a garden center, you must have some orchids with no names, also known as “NoID orchids”.  You want to know their name or even their ancestry so as to know about their needs and to better take care of them. 

But, how do you identify orchids without a name?

Even though an orchid cannot be identified 100% correctly, we can always try to get closer to the lineage of the orchid by the shape of the leaves, the flower size and shape, flower colors and other special features with their suitables.

This article will show you how to do so. 

1. What is a NoID orchid?

First, let’s look at what NoID means and why it is so.

NoID is an abbreviation for “no identity”.  A NoID orchid is one that has no confirmed identity due to the large number of similar looking varieties that exist.  NoID orchids are hybrids with genes from a mixture of species. 

The NoIDs do not have a name because when the focus of the orchid growers in reproducing them is to mass-produce them for sale, without tracking their parents.  That is why NoID orchids are most commonly sold in the grocery store without a proper name tag, other than just “orchid” or “Phalaenopsis orchid”.  Also, registering the name of an orchid in registrars such as the Royal Horticultural Society costs money and resources for the orchid growers. 

Beware that orchid growers often give trade names to orchids, e.g. Phalaenopsis “Black Glamor”, just for the market, but the name is not registered.  In such cases, that orchid is still a NoID.

If you are looking for orchids with a name, you would often need to buy them directly from the orchid grower.

2. Why a NoID orchid is always a NoID

Have you ever posted a picture of your orchid and asked for other’s help to identify it and somebody would come in to say it is impossible to identify it because a NoID is always a NoID? 

NoID orchids are complex hybrids meaning they can be a cross between hybrids, and thus cannot be identified accurately and it would be impossible to trace down its parents. 

Even though a NoID may look like a species in a photo, it is most likely that there is something else bred in it.  

Afterall, photos cannot capture all the characteristics of an orchid, especially with the texture of the petals, the color quality, the flower size as seen in person, etc.  

Trying to name NoID orchids is problematic for those who want to submit their orchid to a competition because it would be disqualified if there is doubt over its name and lineage.

Despite the fact that a NoID can never be named, such a NoID lecture is not very useful for a beginner who simply wants to know the name of their orchid to better understand how to properly care for it.  It also takes the joy out of growing orchids and discourages others from learning about their orchids. 

3. Why we still try to identify NoID orchids?

The wish to identify an orchid is totally natural. 

For most of the home growers, the purpose of identifying an orchid or know the parentage is to know how to care for it, regarding its water needs, sunlight needs, etc.

You may also want to identify an orchid because you have seen it somewhere, you like it and you want to buy the same orchid from a nursery.  Or, you want to get the same special orchid that has just died.

Even though we cannot be 100% correct we can always try to get closer to the lineage of orchids.  When we can get close, we could find out its close siblings and may learn something about how to better take care of them. 

4. How to identify orchids without ID?

Try the following steps by searching through Google Images or your favorite search engine on the internet:

1. First, identify the genus of your orchid which you can do so by some prominent features such as the shape of leaves.  Enter in the search engine the genus of the orchid, e.g. “Phalaenopsis”, “Oncidium”, “Cattleya”, etc. 

2.  Then, enter some special features, e.g. related to its flower shape (e.g. star shape, spindly petals) and its flower color (e.g. white with yellow flowers).

3.  Perform the search and go through the picture results and try to match with your orchid’s features. 

4. Once you have found a picture that comes close to the appearance of your orchid, search the name and check for more pictures to confirm the identity.

Beware that this method of identifying orchids may lead to mislabeling because you may not be aware of all the structural features of an orchid. 

5. How to identify the parents of an orchid?

Once you have the name of your orchid, there are two places you can enter the name of your orchid to check the parents or the lineage. 

6. How to care for NoID orchids?

If you still cannot match up your orchid with a name, you can learn to take care of the orchid by trial and error. 

The status of leaves is a good indication of the health of the orchid.  Here is a complete guide on the health of the leaf.  

For example, if the leaves start to have some red color, it may be an indication that it has too much sun.  If the leaves or bulbs of your orchid shrivel, it may mean that it needs even more water (beware that it could also be a case of root rot caused by overwatering). 

Conclusion

As a general rule of thumb, if you buy an orchid without a name, it is a NoID orchid.  But, you can still try to identify it by its special features such as the shape and colors of their leaves and flowers.  Understanding the lineage of your orchids can be useful if you want to learn more about its needs so as to better care for it.

And if you still cannot identify your orchids, why not call them Frida, Pretty Lip, Morning Sunshine, or whatever pet name and have fun with it?

Happy growing!

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Carol loves to garden and research to help others grow their green thumb.

She is working towards her dream of living close to nature.

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