Orchids belong to one of the largest flowering plant families, with over tens of thousands of different species globally, each with their very own special and unique look. There are massive differences among the different varieties - in shapes, sizes, weights, and colors. Each and every one of them just as elegant and exotic looking. Oh, and they smell great too – orchids’ scents are even used in perfume creating processes.
Orchids easily adapt to their environment and grow well in any warm climate. However most species are naturally grown in tropical forests, like in Central & South America, and countries bordering the Andes Mountains. Colombia has different altitudes from sea level all up to 3,000 meters and depending on which altitude, a different type of orchid will grow.
Many, but rare
Kew’s yearly orchid festival in the United Kingdom this year was themed ‘Colombia’. A great theme as they will have had plenty to show. With over 4,200 wild species of orchids, Colombia has the most different varieties in the world – by far! 1,500 of them are solely found in Colombia and nowhere else. This recorded number is expected to be even higher as not all wild varieties are known by the authorities. New varieties are still to this day being discovered, and estimated is that the current record holds only 10% of the total varieties. Below a picture of the most recently discovered orchid called Telipogon Diabolicus
. It was found on the border of Putumayo. This remarkable flower has a wine-red color and a gynostemium (center of the flower) like a devil’s head. The picture below shows one of the few 30 that exist.
Unfortunately, that is no exception and most Colombian orchid species are close to extinction, and for this reason, only some are licensed for trading. This doesn’t stop orchid fanatics from traveling to the jungle and trying to pick wild Colombian orchids illegally though.
The most sold variety is the Cattleya Trianae
also called ‘Flor de Mayo’ (May Flower) or ‘Christmas Orchid’. Regarded as THE beauty amongst the beauties and loved for its amazing perfume. This orchid variety happens to be Colombia’s national flower since 1936. Like most orchids this rare species as well is close to extinction, yet found on the most important flower market in Bogotá ‘Paloquemao’ for as little a price as a few dollars…
Photo: Mongabay. Cattleya Trianae on the Paloquemao market in Bogotá.
I think all men should buy their girlfriends orchids instead of roses. Take this beaut, Phalaenopsis Bellina, for instance. It’s such a thoughtful and meaningful gift. Orchids are special – so give them to your special someone! It’s way more fun to enjoy as it blooms 3 to 6 months a year and then again the following year. Just promise me one thing.. always be sure your orchids come from certified orchid sellers!