For a small country, Ecuador is rich in bio-diversity – a strong selling point for a visit. 4,000 species of orchids can be found in Ecuador. Compare this to 200 species in the United States! When we arrived in Quito, we decided our first stop should be the Jardin Botanico de Quito to see some of the orchids.
We have seen few orchids in the US aside from inexpensive plants sold in nurseries and a few at Botanical Gardens. The color and size range was fairly limited so we never knew orchid flowers – like this one seen in Quito — came in so many colors, sizes, and shapes.
This orchid reminds me of rich chocolate (also grown in Ecuador).
We thought of orchids as a single flower on a long stem. It was a surprise for us to see clusters like these.
Our friend, Louise, helped us explore the greenhouses. The plants were nicely displayed, and none were the old, familiar species.
The ethereal, delicate quality appealed to us.
A minor disappointment was the lack of any identifying signage. While we’d love to grow this orchid – if only we knew its name – the reality is that it’s probably best suited to be grown only in an Ecuadorean-type climate.
A surprising number of the flowers were quite small….
…or didn’t resemble our preconception of what an orchid looked like.
We had spent many happy hours looking at the orchids in the greenhouse and the wide range of botanical plants lining the adjacent garden paths. It’s amazing to think that here we were in Quito, virtually on the Equator, and in the Andean mountains at an elevation of over 9,000’. The many plants we saw thrived in an environment that is so very different from where we used to live.
After looking at the many new orchid species in Quito, we found ourselves quite taken with these beautiful flowers and will never think of orchids the same way again.