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Orchid flowering time again.

With the onset of rainy season, the Santa Lucía Cloud forest turns into a sea of orchid flowers again. This year it seems to be a little slower though as October and November were rather dry (exact data to follow).

As for the orchid garden, our monitoring on 14th of December showed 138 open flowers of 13 species. Last year at the same time there were 211 flowers of 13 species. Since we did collect species in January and February one would expect the number to be much higher this year.

We found two new Stelis species were we are not sure whether we have seen them before or not. Hopefully Francisco Tobar or other orchid specialists can shed some light on the matter because it sucks to keep counting unknown species (Stelis sp1 - sp150) where you don't have the exact key features based on which to identify them. The same is true and probably even more so for all the species that we run into in the forest were it's often much more difficult to see the details in their floral parts as they can be 3, 4 or 25 meters high.

The highest flower count in the December monitoring had: Maxillaria lepidota (26), Maxillaria pardalina (25) and a Stelis sp. (17) which might be S. superbiens or S. nanegalensis.

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