Jay's Key West Orchid Species Collecting Peru trip Site updated 6/24/00

Peru is an exciting country where the new world Indian culture has collided with the Spanish old world cultures and a new unique combination has occurred. The sights of the human population are only exceeded by the granduer of the Andes and the foothills that surround it. Peru has it's jungles to the east but, by and large the populated part of the country is arid desert. There are valleys that are more protected, and have a river or stream that are quite lush, but much of the country is high scrubland with bushes and grass.

Collecting orchids in this country can be difficult, there are many plants that scratch and cause one to itch, but the most difficult part is being able to reach the plants. Often we have to precariously lean over cliff edges or climb high scarps to get at that elusive, just out of reach Masdevalia, or that mule ear oncidium on that little twiglike branch just a couple of feet out in the air. The excitement is only intensified when the fruits of the collecting expedition are shown off to the others. Sometimes we have to come up with unique ways to carry our finds, this gentleman keeps to miniature plants so they all can be carried in his pockets. All in all collecting is great fun except when it has rained for 6 hours but we have to wonder what the locals think of seeing the gringos at the side of the road.

Macchu Picchu is said by the Inca to be the center of the earth and they worship the hills and mountains around them by mimicing them with their architecture. This area is also rich in orchids, and one of the largest and most dazzling is Sobralia dichotoma, a large terrestrial often found on cliffsides. Macchu Picchu is also home to Phragmipedium caudatum. There are many Maxillaria, Epidendrum, Lycaste longiscapa and Pleurothallis species.

Pisac is another major Incan ruin with fantastic stone walled structures.

Ollantaytambo is the only Incan fortress that never fell to the Spanish. There is a man carved in the hillside and he looks very European with his beard, more than the local Peruvians who have little facial hair and is said to be a likeness of Manco Capak the first of the Incan kings.

Life in the small villages is primitive yet inviting. They have many religious practices that combine Catholisism with their lost Incan culture.Small streets and roads meander through the mountains where small villages when visited bring out the fun in the children. Or at least most of them . Food is good here but there are some delicacies that take a little getting used to. The favorite food there is Cuye or as we know them, guinea pigs. They raise them in their kitchens and they eat all the table scraps and leftovers. Don't freak out, they also have beef and chicken at all gringo restarants.

It is very safe and the Peruvian people are extremely friendly. Visit and Enjoy!!

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  • NEW New! Orchid Collecting Page
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  • Below are other orchid sites that I find useful.

    Other Orchid Sites A great site to link up to all other orchid sites, includes vendors, societies,universities,and book sites.

    Orchid Mall Like above a location to find many orchid web sites.

    Linda's Orchid Hybrid Abbreviations Ever wonder what the heck BLC or Burr or Alcra stood for? Well here's the spot to fix all that, not only are the correct hybrid names given but also what genera are combined to make such a named hybrid. So BLC becomes Brassavola, Laelia and Cattleya , and Alcra. becomes Aliceara comprised of Brassia, Miltonia and Oncidium. Heady stuff this is, as now you can see why it blooms when it does or if it needs a rest or why the leaves fall off. Try it when you buy a new cross.

    Orchid Digest Photo Exchange Used to e-mail photos to use in conjunction with letters written to Orchid List Digest.

    Orchid List Digest Subscribe Page If you subscribe, every few days a e-mail batch letter will arrive, great way to learn about orchids. Lots of expert advice given to novice and professional. Many appearances by well known published Orchidists.

    Orchid Discussion List Like the Orchid List Digest, and if you subscribe, every few days a e-mail batch letter will arrive, great way to learn about orchids. Lots of expert advice given to novice and professional. Many appearances by well known published Orchidists.

    The Stanhopea Page A list of all the Stanhopea species and photos of many of the species.