Did you know that Columbia is home to more than 4,000 different orchid species, and there are 1,543 endemic species that reside in this country? However, there is a reason why so many orchids are found here. In fact, this entire region is surrounded by mountain ranges, like the Andean Cordillera. Such a chain of mountains features a diverse set of environments, ranging from dry and wet forests to Paramos and cloud forests.
The majority of orchids that reside here are epiphytes, or in other words, plants that live on the bark of trees and depend on debris and moisture stored at branches.
Now, let’s discover some interesting facts about these stunning plants!
Cattleya – the world-famous name
Cattleya isn’t only the type of orchid but the flower for which these plants are known across the world. You can find a couple of species in Columba, and the majority of them are endemic. The Cattleya trianae is most widespread and commonly found throughout the country.
Since we are on the subject of this orchid, you should know that Cattleya trianae is named after José Jerónimo Triana, a Columbian naturalist. On top of that, Emilio Robledo selected Cattleya trianae as a national symbol.
Cattleya orchid Colombia comes in different sizes, textures, shapes, and colors and is scattered across the country. However, the most significant number of Columbian orchids is found in the Andes, between 1,000 and 3,000 meters.
Cataleya colombiana, the most popular flower
In Columbia, orchids stand out among thousands of flowers, including Michaelmas daisies, lilies, chrysanthemums, carnations, and roses.
Cattleya Colombian flower
The flowers are commonly found in winter and early spring. After the flowering finishes in the early spring, the new growth starts and continues until August. However, the new flower buds will not appear until November.
A new type discovered
Encyclia Parketri is a new type discovered in 2015 in the area of La Cumbre and Restrepo in Valle del Causa. The researchers initially started studying 421,000 hectares of flora in the region of Valle del Causa, and with the help of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, this research was extended to other departments.
Orchids can survive up to 100 years, and the texture of their leaves, size, and shape depends on their habitat. Usually, plants that live in dry climates have thicker leaves, covered with wax, while orchids living in humid and warm climates possess elongated and thin leaves. On the other hand, you can find species without leaves at all.
The most peculiar Columbian orchids
Coryanthes macrantha or also known as a huge one is a species that lives in the Columbian lowland. This type can produce massive flowers, ranging up to 5 inches in diameter. It’s important to mention that this orchid grows in a huge ant-garden nest, and it’s this association with ants that help Coryanthes macrantha grow such massive flowers. One flower can reach up to 100g.
The next on our list is the Christmas orchid which is critically endangered due to deforestation. The Pacific lowland wet forests are home to Cycnoches barthiorum, another endemic species known as the swan orchid.
Did you know that most orchids have bisexual flowers, which means that they have female and male reproductive organs placed in one flower? However, when it comes to swan orchids, they can produce female and male flowers, which aren’t the same.
Last but not least, the Dracula orchid is another common species found in Columbia. In fact, there are approximately 42 Dracula orchid types. They have quite strange and bizarre flowers.