365 days of orchids – day 564 – Prosthechea brassavolae

This dramatic Central American species is one of our favourites. We found it as a common epiphyte in Costa Rica on the Poas Volcano in the Bosque de Paz reserve. The habitat is wet evergreen forest at 1400m with lush epiphytic growth of ferns, bromeliads and orchids (our photo of the reserve below)

The species is fragrant at night and probably pollinated by moths. In 2007 two A level science students tried to camp out at night by one of the flowering plants of Prosthechea brassavolae to try and photograph the moth in question. However the rain forest can be a bit spooky at night and in Costa Rica is full of the sounds of exotic animals so the sixth formers lasted less than an hour before returning to the comfort of a hammock at the lodge. Perhaps we will have another try sometime.

Not surprisingly, given the habitat, the species enjoys cool temperatures, shade and lots of water.


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  1. Agnes Jones says:

    I think your A level students were eminently sensible going back to the lodge. Just imagine all those creepy crawly bugs and spiders! I wouldn’t want to sleep outside in a rainforest either. Have you tried it?

    I am not surprised this flower is one of your favourites. It is very beautiful and very well photographed. Thank you for sharing it with us.