Orchids among the Mayan Ruins

Did I mention that my time away involved laying on a beach in Mexico? ‘Cause that’s what we did. We did do lots of exploring, too, including orchid hunting. We were disappointed not to find orchids within Cancun, but our visit to the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza made up for it. We were listening to our tour guide when we both looked up into a tree and saw 3 orchids tightly attached to branches about 15 ft (4.5 m) up in the air. They weren’t in flower, but 2 of them had big fat seedpods hanging underneath. I could tell they were Stanhopea orchids because of the distinctive way their roots pointed up. As we looked around the rest of the Chichen Itza complex, we found dozens more in the trees, a lot with seedpods. Here, in the tropical, dry season heat that was making us wither, these orchids go for weeks without rain. No wonder they’ve been around for millions of years.

Stanhopea orchid at Chichen ItzaStanhopea seed pods at Chichen Itza

Dave and I both took plenty of pictures of the ruins, but we were also pointing our cameras up into the trees and taking pictures of the orchids. It’s a good way to elicit strange stares from people. Of course if the orchids had been in bloom, it might have made a bit more sense to them. But I was just as happy seeing a healthy population of native orchids.

Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

Since the orchids at Chichen Itza weren’t in bloom, I thought I’d add a picture of Stanhopea flowers from a different locale. The flowers hang down below the plant, and have some strange shapes.

Stanhopea flowers at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Explore posts in the same categories: Botanical Gardens, Dormancy, Fragrant Orchids, Orchids in the Wild, Photos

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One Comment on “Orchids among the Mayan Ruins”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Those ruins are amazing. I’ve been there but I never saw the orchids!