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2001 Vivi's Orchid Corner Articles

"Costa Rican Orchid Adventures, Article 2" - August 2001 - Volume 6, Issue 7

Dear Orchid Friends:

My Costa Rican trip has been filled with many unexpected pleasures and treasures. I continually yearn for all the new and varied adventures each day brings. The sun rises reflecting dew drops on the vegetation. A fine mist spritzes my face. Leisurely walks through the Rainforest continue to inspire and delight. The sounds of frogs, cicadas and birds are omnipresent. I remain mesmerized by all the orchids that surround me.

Wild Terete Vandas, www.viviorchids.com, c2000 David W. DodgeI was not expecting to see Terete vandas in Costa Rica and I find myself a bit perplexed, to say the least. What are sun loving orchids doing in the Rainforest? I immediately think of the Terete vandas in my own yard and my bond with Costa Rica becomes deeper. Wow! What an explosion of color! The prolific pink Terete vandas are in full bloom. The "drier" season is just ending, thus inducing the Terete vandas to grow tall and stately. PHOTO Terete vandas grow high against homes, fences and stalls and love direct sun. The pencil-thin terete leaves form a weaved network…a support system of roots intertwined, clinging to masonry, wood and each other.

In a country so rich in annual rainfall, I am pleasantly surprised to see Terete vandas. Terete vandas require little care by humans. Mother Nature is the best caretaker. She provides the right amount of sunshine, rain and moisture. There is no need to hand water these orchids in Costa Rica. The most common species are Vanda teres and Vanda hookeriana. Terete vandas love full sun, warm temperatures, humidity and tolerate full sun all day in tropical areas with so much humidity. The aerial roots spread freely and readily attach themselves to any support. They grow best along fences, sides of buildings, anywhere they can cling and climb. These orchids bloom several times a year given ample sunlight. Flowers are borne on tall upright stalks containing many blooms on a single inflorescence. The pink rose colored flowers have a glisteny sheen… joyfully sparkling in the sunshine.

Sloth in treeAs my traveling companions and I enjoy yet another outing, we spy a lone two-toed sloth high in the tree canopy. Sloths move so slowly their movements are nearly indiscernible. The sloth remains suspended; nestled in a particular tree and eats eight leaves a day. We whistle to the sloth; it acknowledges us by a slight wagging of its head. The sloth is much smaller in size than I expected. It spends its day hanging up-side down. There are two types of sloths: two-toed and three-toed. Apparently the three-toed sloths are aggressive. That was a surprising fact!

The events of the day evolve as we continue to explore the Rainforest and enjoy our peaceful encounter with nature. At one point in our nature walk, we are fortunate to see an Epidendrum radicans in bloom. Orange flowers appear as a bright flame. Epidendrum radicans in the Costa Rican Rainforest, www.viviorchids.com, c2000 David W. DodgeAttached to a rock, the nutrients of the Rainforest provide food and a safe haven for this delicate orchid. Perhaps "petite and hardy" are more appropriate descriptions of this orchid as it defiantly flowers on a rocky medium. I love the colors of the Epidendrum radicans. I never had much luck growing this particular orchid species despite my best efforts. Perhaps I nurtured it too much. Yet, here in Costa Rica, the orchids adapt and flower with the natural caring from Mother Nature.

Banana plants, ginger, heliconias, palm trees are part of this luxurious landscape. Our Tico friend points out a pink flowered bush with soft urchin like magenta colored berries. This is the Achieote. Care is taken not to prick our fingers as the spiked berry pod is cut open to reveal tiny seeds. The Ticos use the seeds for the coloring in yellow rice… much like the spice saffron used in other countries.

Wild little white orchidsBoat Billed Flycatcher, c2001 D.Selig Ahhh look! Minute white orchids in bloom. I cannot identify it, but it thrills me nonetheless.

And there, a Boat Billed Flycatcher, yellow and brown.



Costa Rica’s national flower is an orchid. Cattleya skinnerii is called the "Flower of San Sebastion" and is the national flower.



In a clearing, we spy more blooming Terete vandas. The air is heavy and there is no escaping the moisture and rain showers. Drenched and satisfied, it’s now time for una cerveza!


Until next time,

vivi

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