Enter the Cloud Forest, a mysterious world veiled in mist. Take in breath-taking mountain views surrounded by diverse vegetation and hidden floral gems. And learn about rare plants and their fast-disappearing environment.
Discover the natural wonders of the Andes, the largest continental mountain range that spans seven countries in South America. In this vast mosaic of peaks and valleys, forests and deserts, lies a region known as the Tropical Andes, a treasure trove of biodiversity. The “Orchids of the Andes” (安第斯山脉兰花展) display explores the relationship between the Tropical Andean landscape, its flora and the people. Visitors can look forward to a variety of exquisite orchid species and hybrids dotting a landscape featuring elements of the famous mountain range, such as Inca ruins, a cavern, waterfalls and even “llamas”.
Introducing the Orchids
This species with bizarre-looking flowers is a cool growing epiphyte (plant that grows on another plant for support) found in the moist cloud forests of Ecuador at elevations between 1,800m and 2,700m. It has clustered, cane-like arching pendulous stems and overlapping fleshy leaf-sheaths. Each stem produces between one and three terminal flowers (flowers that bloom at the end of the stem). The deep maroon lip of the orchid with its fringed margin is likened to Medusa’s hair of snakes, which gave rise to its common name “The Medusa Epidendrum”, as well as its scientific name “Epidendrum medusae”.
This species is a high elevation cool-to-cold growing epiphyte (plant that grows on another plant for support) found in Colombia and Venezuela, and is pollinated by hummingbirds. It has an arching or nodding inflorescence that carries between seven and 18 bright orange semi-tubular flowers. These flowers are semi-open, with the sepals, petals and lip spreading outwards only from midpoint.
Psychopsis Mariposa ‘Three Lip’
(Psychopsis papilio x Psychopsis Kalihi)
Native to Central, South America and Trinidad, the genus Psychopsis means “butterfly-like” in Greek. As such, it is also commonly known as the “Butterfly Orchid”. This particular hybrid between Psychopsis papilio x Psychopsis Kalihi flowers throughout the year, with each inflorescence producing one long lasting bloom at a time in succession. This is a peloric (a mutation) form of the hybrid, in which the petals are enlarged and mimic the lip of the orchid in shape and colour, giving each flower the appearance of having three lips.
This species occurs at elevation of up to 3,000m in the montane cloud forests of Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. It produces the largest flower within the genus Cyrtochilum, and is also known as “The Large Flowered Cyrtochilum”. The long, twining inflorescence has many branches. Each branch carries two to five long-lasting flowers, and the flowers can grow up to 10cm in diameter. Sepals are dull yellow-brown, while petals are golden-yellow, and the showy brilliance of the colours makes this an impressive specimen.
Masdevallia Machu Picchu
(Masdevallia ayabacana x Masdevallia coccinea)
This primary hybrid (cross between two species) created in 1986 between Masd. ayabacana x Masd. coccinea inherits the fine traits from both parents, including the long-tailed sepals from the pod parent and the deep pink purple colouration from the pollen parent. With the good shape and intense colour of the bloom, this is one of the most attractive hybrids ever known to have been produced.
This species can be found at the upper elevations of the Andes from Venezuela to Peru. It has oval-shaped and compressed pseudobulbs (a bulb-like enlargement of the stem in orchids) bearing erect to arching inflorescence of up to 80cm in length. The flowers open in succession and are pale green with chocolate brown bands, coupled with a white spear-shaped lip that has a rose-purple base. Each large, fragrant bloom measures up to 7.5cm in diameter.
Curious to find out more?
Find out more about the unique habitat in Cloud Forest by joining a free “ASK Me!” guided tour of selected areas in the conservatory. Pick up amazing facts about the plants on display and be inspired to play a part in protecting the environment!