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Orchid Center, El Valle de Antón, Panama
If you visit El Valle de Antón Panama and you love flowers, stop at the APROVACA Orchid Center (Orquídea). This non-profit organization was established to conserve and protect native panama orchids. This is a truly beautiful educational lesson. And if you’re very lucky, you will see many of the orchids in bloom.
Walk through the grounds and look through the nurseries where they start them from scratch. Chat with the knowledgeable staff in Spanish, Japanese or English.
I learned that some native orchids are actually endangered in the wild. This orchid center helps by reintroducing fully grown orchids into the local habitats. It’s quite enjoyable to see these beautiful flowers growing freely outside instead of in an enclosed hot-house.
I also learned that vanilla is the seed pod of an orchid. And why is vanilla so expensive? First, the plant can take up 3-5 years to bloom. And secondly, once you have a flower you must pollinate it by hand, within 12 hours.
Holy Ghost Orchid – Panama’s national flower
I was very lucky and got to see many of the famous “Holy Ghost Orchids” in bloom. They are also sometimes referred to as “The Dove”. Just look at the photo and you can see why. The inside of the orchid looks like a small dove with it’s wings spread.
Since this is the national flower of Panama, there is added emphasis on preserving this beautiful flower.
Unfortunately, I don’t have all the technical names, but they sure are beautiful to look at. Too bad smelly photos haven’t been invented yet… these orchids smelled sooo good!
(Click on any photo to open light-box and browse full-size images.)
Butterfly Haven in El Valle de Antón
See my previous post about the Butterfly Haven, also in located in El Valle de Antón, Panama.