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  #1  
Old 08-11-2022, 08:26 AM
dnatural1 dnatural1 is offline
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Default Best time to view flowering orchids in the wild

I am planning to do a orchid trip to Colombia in 2023 - the aim is to see as many flowering orchids in the wild as possible. What is the best time to do this - both in general and specifically for Colombia? I was told that the best time to do so is at the start of the rainy season. This makes sense as it provides germinated seeds (and their mycorrhizal fungi) the water they need to grow. What are your thoughts on this and how would this apply to Colombia - specifically the region in and around the Andes?
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Old 08-11-2022, 08:34 AM
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While I cannot answer your question, if your interest is seeing flowers in-situ, I would think you'd want to be there before the seeds are produced, rather than when they are germinating.
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  #3  
Old 08-11-2022, 08:58 AM
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Orchids take many years after germination to flower so that time has very little to do with when you should go see them.

Are you planning on going on tours or to specific reserves? If so you should ask them what the best time is. If you are going to see specific things like Phrags, Cattleya, or Oncidiums you can also look at their bloom times.

Personally I would just go when you can and enjoy whatever you see. I guarentee that you can see flowers in bloom at any time of year. I enjoy seeing plants I've never heard of in bloom and then, trying to figure out what they are. The Andes is full of small fascinating little orchids such as pleurothallids which have very small flowers. They are nearly always in bloom and you may need a magnifying glass to appreciate them but they are remarkable when you look close.

I reccomend going anywhere with 'cloud forest' because it is encrusted with orchids and bromeliads and its not a tall forest so they are easily visible. Cloudforest exists on wet mountain slopes at medium elevations like 2000-3000m. If you want to go to lowland rainforest I would get a tour or a guide because while there are many orchids there, they are hard to find and get a good look at

Last edited by Louis_W; 08-11-2022 at 09:17 AM..
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Old 08-11-2022, 06:21 PM
dnatural1 dnatural1 is offline
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Hi Ray, Louis,

Tks for your replies and suggestions.

So if the period between flowering and seed set is, say, 3 months, then one has to be there 3 months before the rains start. As I think more about this I think it could be a bit more complex as plants need water for more than just to assist seed germination - they need it to grow. Growth starts happening soon after flowering. In this case flowering would happen about 1 month before the rain starts.

In cloud forests I believe you get moisture all year round so things are not as dependent on the rainy season and this may explain Louis's observation that "you can see flowers in bloom at any time of year."

If I can't determine the best time, which would depend on the environment, I'll be taking Louis's advice and go when I can (February\March). But I'll investigate a bit more .
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Old 08-11-2022, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnatural1 View Post
Hi Ray, Louis,

Tks for your replies and suggestions.

So if the period between flowering and seed set is, say, 3 months, then one has to be there 3 months before the rains start. As I think more about this I think it could be a bit more complex as plants need water for more than just to assist seed germination - they need it to grow. Growth starts happening soon after flowering. In this case flowering would happen about 1 month before the rain starts.

In cloud forests I believe you get moisture all year round so things are not as dependent on the rainy season and this may explain Louis's observation that "you can see flowers in bloom at any time of year."

If I can't determine the best time, which would depend on the environment, I'll be taking Louis's advice and go when I can (February\March). But I'll investigate a bit more .
It can be several YEARS from the time a plant grows from seed to flowering, as Louis_W pointed out. So that is going to have little or nothing to do with bloom season. You have received some excellent advice... utilize the expertise of the people who will be your guides, or who have nurseries in the area that you are planning to visit. There is always SOMETHING in bloom (and no time when EVERYTHING is in bloom ) Also there is a geographic component - plants that grow on slopes that face west will have different seasons than for those on slopes that face east. There are many microclimates in between, too.
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Old 08-11-2022, 11:48 PM
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Equatorial forests break a lot of the seasonal rules that you are trying to use to guide you. Many plants may very well operate the way you predict but the truth is that it's very chaotic and stuff always seems to be happening.

No matter when you go, you will see tons of plants with no flowers and tons of seed pods and some flowering plants. Occasionally you find something that is a total stunner. All of these things can be amazing. There are some strange plants out there. If you open things ups to appreciating more than just flowers it will be much more enriching. While you are at it i recommend younbring some binoculars. Partly because you can't get close to every plant you want to see and partly because the cloud forest is full of some of the most beautiful birds in the world. It's stuffed full of hummingbirds and tanagers.

Talking about if really makes me want to go back!
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Old 08-13-2022, 02:37 AM
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Contacting these folks might help: https://www.caliorquideas.com/
If you don't speak Spanish google translate can help you compose an email, and understand any response you may receive.
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:59 PM
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Old 08-13-2022, 03:16 PM
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My experience with in-the-wild tropical orchids is from Puerto Rico. As has been pointed out, different species bloom at different times, with some blooming in November, others in March or June, and so forth. Some species might bloom more than once a year.

Here, our temperate orchids often bloom in the spring, but some species bloom in early to late summer. Our crane fly orchids just finished blooming.
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