The native orchids of Peru represent some of nature's most beautiful expressions, as revealed through shape, color, texture, fragrance and adaptation to diverse habitats. The Peruvian country has 84 of the 103 biodiversity zones found on earth, is home to more than 3,000 of the 30,000 known orchid species, but it is estimated that only about 50% of the Peruvian species have so far been discovered. The most important recent discoveries have been Phragmipedium peruvianum (kovachii) in 2002 and Phragmipedium besseae in 1981, both in the Moyobamba area.
Orchids grow in the high tropical jungle on the eastern slopes of the Andes and in the cloud forest region. There, amidst the exuberant vegetation produced by nearly 5,000 mm of rainfall per year forming veritable natural gardens. They are found from the far northwest of Peru with species such as the Cattleya maxima with their large violet flowers to the eastern department of Amazonas where striking orchids of the Masdevalia genus thrive. In the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in the department of Ancash, interesting varieties of native orchids, including the wakanku (Masdevalia amabilis) can also be seen. he Machu Picchu Sanctuary it is home to more than 300 orchid varieties including the wakanki (Masdevalia vetchiana), and wiñaywayna (Epidendrum secundum) which are the most beautiful of these varieties. We have designed a very beautiful tour complete with biologist guides and a short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu in order to gain an in-depth appreciation of these most beautiful flowering plants. See the special interest link to orchid tours to Peru.
Peru is home of 3000 orchid species. The greatest diversity of species is found in the High Amazon Jungle located between 500 and 3,600 m.a.s.l. Peru surpasses the number of native species found in Colombia and Ecuador, countries that are known because of their orchid variety. Orchids were highly prized by the Inca and pre-Inca cultures as is described in ancient records. Here is a list of the locations in Peru where the different orchids are found.
Machu Picchu Sanctuary
The estimates for diversity within the sanctuary reach 200 species. Among the species that can be found(take a walk in the crossroad Ollantaytambo toMachu Picchu) are Aa, Epidendrum, Masdevallia, Maxillaria, Oncidium, Odontoglossum, Phagminpedium and the Sobralia.
Tambopata Candamo Reserved Zone (Only by request:)
Orchids studies do not show significant diversity but do include some interesting species of the genera Cataseum, Mormodes, Psychopsis
Huascaran National Park
The National Park has High Andean species that have been studied recently. One of the most representative species is the Masdevalia amabilis, which grows in rocky mountain slopes. Other genera are: Aa, Altenasteinia, Epidendrum, Stelis and Trichocerus.
Land of Orchids (also Chachapoyas is possible, beautiful, but remote)
The watershed of the Mayo river (Department of San Martin) is known as the land of orchids. There are great numbers such as Anguloa, Brassia, Cataseum, Cattleya, Bollea, Coryanthes, Lycaste, Masdevallia and many more. The most representative is the Cattleya, locally known as "Golondrina".
Loreto and Ucayali (beautiful, but remote)
Amazon lowlands have not much diversity. The great attractions are the species of the genus: Caryanthes, Gongora, Maxillaria, Mormodes and Cataseum.
Podocarpus Forests in Cajamarca
The high Amazon jungle is known for the podocarpus forests, the forest with the highest number of orchids. Many are quite exotic varieties such as the Masdevalia setacea, Masdevalia glandulosa and Lycaste denninginia.
The Valley of Orchids (beautiful, not far away from Lima)
The Valley of Chanchamayo (Department of Junin) is a fantastic place for orchid funds, although nowadays highly depredated. The zone requires immediate protected area status.The Masdevallia can reach up to 30 cm. The Pschopsis sanderae, known as the royal butterfly, is a rare endemic species. The majority of genera in Peru are found in this valley.
See the special interest link to orchid tours to Peru.
Cultural Expeditions Peru offers:
Customized luxury group tours to Peru's amazing native orchids in an environmentally responsible way.Travel to Peru's native orchids in diverse habitats while experiencing Spanish and Andean history, archaeology, arts and culture.
Travel packages tailored to your interests with expert knowledgeable trip leadership.