Bigugu isn’t just good for orchids the varied habitats also support some other remarkable plants including this stunning red Impatiens (Busy Lizzie family) that is only found in forest near the summit of this one mountain – wow!
What a find. This orchid is one of Rwanda’s 61 endemic species (not found in any other country) and it is restricted to montane forest and ericaceous scrub high on Rwanda’s mountains. We found it flowering 200m below the summit of Bigugu on the side of a tree trunk. Polystachyas deserve to be more widely grown with their beautifully patterned flowers. The flowers do tend to look downwards but when they flower just above your head this is a really good trait.
About 24 it turns out. Zoe did her usual trick of finding an interesting orchid under her foot while we were all looking in trees.
The tiny Polystachya growing on a stick that must have recently fallen from the tree above turned out to be Polystachya spatella. Orchid identification with our friends from Kitabi has been great fun and really rewarding.
After over 6 hours of walking up Bigugu (the tallest point in Nyungwe) we were rewarded with a view that stretched for miles and gave a new perspective of the park. The view truly justified the time and effort it took to get to the top, my legs however disagreed.