Biodiversity in Belize
Biological Diversity in Belize
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Co=Corozal district. OW=Orange Walk District, Be=Belize District, Cy=Cayo district, SC=Stann Creek district, To=Toledo district

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Orchids of Belize

By Jan Meerman

(Click an image for a larger picture)

Encyclia cochleata

Encyclia cochleata (L.) Lemée var. cochleata

National flower of Belize. Rather common epiphytic orchid. and one of the few Belizean orchids that flowers nearly year round. Distribution: Co, OW, Be, Cy, SC, To.

Bletia purpurea (Lam.) DC.

Terrestrial orchid. Common in savanna habitats. Flowers irregularly and can be found flowering nearly at any time of the year. Distribution: OW, Be, Cy, To.

Bletia purpurea
Catesetum integerrimum

Catasetum integerrimum Hook.

Very common epiphytic orchid. Often growing in dead stumps. The root mass is pointing upwards and acts as a trap for organic material. Male and female flowers differ (here female flowers). The flowers attract large numbers of huge bees (Eulaema meriana:Apidae: Euglossini). These bees are rarely seen at any other flower. Distribution: OW, Be, Cy, SC, To.

Encyclia radiata (Lindl.) Dressler

This is a relatively uncommon species. Flowers intermittently. Distribution Cy, SC.

Encyclia radiata
Epidendrum ibaguense

Epidendrum ibaguense Humb., Bonpl. & Kunth

This terrestrial orchid that is so common in much of Central America is very rare in Belize. I know it only from the higher reaches of the Mountain Pine Ridge (Cy) and from Victoria peak (SC). In the latter place it is very common.

Isochilus carnosiflorus Lindl.

Clumping epiphytic species. Flowers small. Common. Distribution: Co, OW, Be, Cy, SC, To.

Isochilus carnosiflorus
Lycaste aromatica

Lycaste aromatica (Graham ex Hook.) Lindl.

Epiphytic species with Large pseudobulbs. Uncommon. Mostly found along rivers. Distribution: Cy, To.

Maxillaria hedwigae Hamer & Dodson.

Smaller epiphytic species. Rare. Distribution: Cy.

Maxillaria rufescens
Mormolica ringens

Mormolyca ringens (Lindl.) Schltr.

Epiphytic orchid. Forms large clumps. Common. distribution: Cy, SC, To.


Myrmecophila tibicinis (Bateman) Rolfe

Very large orchid with huge pseudobulbs (which are filled with ants). Locally called "cow horn orchid". Mostly found along the coast and in savanna habitats. Flowers in the dry season. Common. Distribution: Co, OW, Be, Cy, Sc, To.

Myrmecophila tibicinis
Oeceoclades maculata

Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl.

This terrestrial orchid with attractive maculated leaves is a recent immigrant from Africa. I found the first two plants on the Green Hills Butterfly Ranch property in 1994. Now, less than a decade later there are thousands. I have found it in OW, Cy and To, but probably more widespread by now.

Oncidium altissimum (Jacq.) Sw.

Epiphytic orchid from humid forests. Common. Distribution: Co, OW, Be, Cy, Sc, To.

Oncidium altissimum
Oncidium sphacelatum

Oncidium sphacelatum Lindl.

"Golden Shower". Common epiphytic orchid forming large clumps. The masses of golden yellow flowers in the dry season are very attractive. Distribution: Co, OW, Be, Cy, Sc, To.

Sobralia macrantha Lindl.

Large terrestrial orchid. People often dig these plants out but they don't transplant very well and the individual flowers last only one or two days. Best to be enjoyed in its natural habitat. Distribution: Very local; Be, Cy.

Sobralia macrantha
Trigonium egertonianum

Trigonidium egertonianum Bateman ex Lindl.

Dragons mouth orchid. Epiphytic species. Common. Distribution: Co, OW, Be, Cy, Sc, To.

Notylia barkeri Lindl.

This small orchid is common and often found in old citrus plantations. The many small flowers are arranged in a pendant, cylindrical raceme. The flowers are slightly fragrant. Flowers mostly early in the year. But can be found flowering anywhere from January through September. Distribution: Co, OW, Be, Cy, SC, To.


Notylia barkeri
Vanilla planifolia

Vanilla planifolia Jacks.

This orchid is the original source of "Vanilla". Now cultivated in the old world for this purpose. This is a very unusual epiphytic species that is actually a vine. The plant flowers during the dry season but the flowers are rarely seen because they are high up in the trees. Fairly common. Distribution: OW, Be, Cy, Sc, To.


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Last modified: August 11, 2006