Friday, December 3, 2010

Lepanthes caritensis a rare Puerto Rican endemic orchid





Lepanthes caritensis


This orchid is rarely seen and even less often photographed.   Found only in particular mountains of the east of Puerto Rico this orchid is quite tiny and often overlook.  At one time they were thought to ocurr in a very restricted area where only 196 individuals were known to ocurr.  Amazingly half of the plants of the species were found in a single tree!  But it now appears to have a wider distribution than was realized.  I found a few plants but sadly after hurricane Earl thinned the canopy in the area where they grew they dissapeared.   Hopefully one day I will find more plants to photograph.  This plant is not in circulation in the orchid growing circles, I know of just a single plant in captivity.  The photo I saw of the plant is apparently being cared by a particularly skilled orchidist as shows it thriving under cultivation.  However I ask you not to remove these plants from the wild as keeping them healthy and alive away from their natural habitat is not and endeavour for the casual orchidist and most likely will result in the death of the plant.

3 comments:

G. Rivera Cruz said...

:)

Luis M. Ortiz Jordan said...

To me, this is one of the most beautifful Lepanthes in the whole genus and its flower is large for the size of the plant. Its so sad that its an endagered species. I have never seen it in its native habitat. It has to be a unique experience.

Luis M. Ortiz Jordan said...

My grandfather has growed this plant for quite some time. He lives in Adjuntas close to a stream, so its pretty easy for him to grow it. I have a division and i grow it in a Lepantharium that I made with a couple of South American Lepanthes, since I live in low land conditions. Its not an easy task, since you have to monitor the Lepanthrium 24/7.