Epidendroideae comprise about 80 % of the approximately 25 000 species of orchids and contain most of the epiphytic and tropical species. Freudenstein and Chase analyse seven loci from 310 genera of epidendroids and find increased resolution and support for many groups. Analysis of diversification suggests a strong association between species richness and epiphytism, but pollination characters are also correlated with richness, as are shifts in distribution. The results therefore suggest that no single character accounts for the success of this group. Rather, it appears that a succession of key features appeared that have contributed to diversification, sometimes in parallel.