Ecuador is home to about 10% of the world’s identified orchid species, with dozens new species discovered every year. It has more species than either Brazil, or the US and Canada put together! Many more. The US has about 200 species, Ecuador, last count, close to 4,000!! The only other country that might have more species is Colombia.

Cloud forests are in the epi-center of orchid diversity. Our 500-or-so hectare reserve probably has more species than the continental US. That’s how diverse these forests are. You’d be disappointed, however, if you come expecting corsages blossoming in every tree. Most orchids are tiny, and they sure don’t all flower at the same time of year! Some are very rare, with unusual low populations (same as with some birds). Best time? It really depends on what the weather’s been doing, but usually Feb-March is a good time, with July-August coming in a close second (especially for certain Oncidiums). Even so, don’t expect to see more than just a few species in flower at one time, unless you are a crazed orchid-lover. We do have a simple orchidarium where usually there’s something in flower.

Oncidiums are the easiest to spot, since many have large or medium size flowers, but there’s dozens of Pleurothallis up in them trees- some I’m sure I’ve never seen in flower. Xylobium, Epidendrum, Sobralia, Elleanthus, Masdevelia, Stelis, Lepanthes, Trichophilia, Anachelium, Lycaste, Cyrtochilum, Chondroryncha, Stenorrynchus, Bractia, Odontoglossum, Rodriguezia, Malaxis, Kefersteinia, Habeneria, Comparettia, are some of the other genera I know we have (and which I can remember the spelling of!) Who knows what else is out there! Come and help us find out!!

Lycastes, one of dozens of orchid genera at our reserve (photo taken at our orchidarium)