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Ecological-phytocenotic peculiarities of the development of tuberous orchids of the North-West Caucasus

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The results of long-term studies of tuberoid orchids in the North-Western Caucasus are summarized. Data on the ecology, abundance and age structure of 126 cenopopulations of 12 species of tuberoid orchids in 65 habitats are given. Tuberoid orchids in the North-Western Caucasus are represented by a significant number of taxa and are widely distributed in mountainous areas. Geobotanical descriptions of plant communities in the habitats of which cenopopulations of tuberoid orchids develop were conducted according to generally accepted methods. In the study of cenopopulations, methods developed by domestic researchers were used. To study the age structure used ontogenetic (age) conditions, proposed for orchids. Tuberoid orchids are characterized by a wide ecologo-phytocenotic amplitude of development of environmental conditions and are distributed within the region in various types of forests, mountainous-xerophilic steppes, mountain meadows. Occurs absent-mindedly, in small groups or single specimens in natural grass stands from the lower mountain belt to the highlands. A wide range in the distribution of tuberoid orchids is due to their ability to tolerate low temperatures and prolonged droughts, reducing the activity of life processes during dormancy at the expense of specific storage organs. Tuberoid orchids are mesophytes, mezoxerophytes and xerophytes. Most tuberoid orchids are heliophytes. Among tuberoid orchid obligate sociophytes is not found. In the North-West Caucasus, tuberoid orchids form a fairly large number of cenopopulations in different habitats, indicating a wide range of their response to the natural conditions that ensure the development of the species under study. The number of individuals of the cenopopulations of certain species of tuberoid orchids varies significantly. The studied cenopopulations of tuberoid orchid species are normally incomplete and differ markedly in the ratio of age groups: mainly with the predominance of generative and virgin individuals, rarely virginia only; Senile plants are rare.