One hundred different genera of orchids are known from the part of the African continent that lies south of the Sahara. Over half of these are never found beyond its shores, and a further quarter is found, elsewhere, only on the nearby islands of the western Indian Ocean. Thus at least three-quarters of the genera are unique to the AfroMalagasy region. They are not only unique, but characteristic, comprising whole subtribes of the orchid family that are endemic to this area. They display varied growth patterns and complex flowers with a great diversity of colours, structures, scents and size. Many are distinguished by their prolific flower production and ease of culture, while others remain rare and recalcitrant, reluctant to bloom either in the wild or in cultivation.