March 22, 2010

"Flor del Espíritu Santo" - Dove Orchid.

     The “Flor del Espíritu Santo” (Holy Spirit flower) was declared national flowerof the Republic of Panama on October 21th, 1980.
     The plant is known scientifically as "Peristeria Elata” and it is of the gender of “Peristeria” which is the group of plants belonging to the orchid family (Orchidaceae) whose common name in English is" Dove Orchid "(“Orquídea Paloma” in Spanish) or" “Holy Ghost Orchid". The common name of this genus comes from the Greek word "Peristerion" which means "dove".
     The plant consists of globose pseudobulbs up to 12 inches high, four leaves that reach up to 1 meter. The flower stalk comes out from the base of the bulb with a length between 1 to 1.8 meters and can produce a total of 4 to 12 flowers. Each flower has petals of a deep ivory, adorned in the center of the flower with a well-defined dove with outstretched wings, stained or painted purple, and anther and pistil yellow. The flowers’ fragrance is nice and intense.
     Annually, the plant flowers between the months of July to October if the bulb is mature or reach their optimum size. If the plant is young, you must have patience in its flowering until the bulb reaches maturity. It grows best at altitudes between sea level and 800 meters. In the wild, growing on large trees in the forest, very aerated soils with organic matter and rich in humus. It may also be found in low shrubs, small areas on the upper slopes, and sometimes on the roadside.
     The Holy Spirit flower is a very rare and beautiful flower, exotic for nationals and foreigners. For this reason, it should encourage its growth throughout the Panamenian territory.

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