Bolivian Beauty

While much of the Northern Hemisphere is baking in summer heat, San Francisco is cool and foggy. Our mild weather must bear some resemblance to cloud forests in the Bolivian Andes, because this gorgeous Masdevallia has made itself right at home. In the wild, this species grows on mossy branches. In our back garden, it grows mounted on the limb of a small tree, an Iochroma. This orchid was a gift from my friend and fellow orchid nut, Tony.

Masdevallia flowerMasdevallia flowers and leavesMasdevallia flower

It’s remarkable to think that these beautiful blossoms weren’t identified by modern science until 1978. Dark purple markings could be mistaken for jaguar spots on a light purple background. Some of Dave’s photos capture the sunlight striking the yellow flower throat and illuminating the bloom.

Masdevallia flower close upMasdevallia flowers side viewMasdevallia plant and blooms

The long, tapered flower tails stand out in the images of unfolding flower buds. Colors are visible on the buds even before they open, starting off the floral show with a hint of what’s to come. It’s an impressive display for a Bolivian beauty.

Masdevallia bud starting to openMasdevallia flower partially openMasdevallia flowers and leaves

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6 Comments on “Bolivian Beauty”

  1. nancy Says:

    Wow! Those are stunning! Your so lucky to live where you can grow these outdoors.

  2. SF13 Says:

    great photos thanks for the post

  3. Del Reed Says:

    the way the sun lights up the flower, it almost appears like there’s a lightbulb inside the flower.

  4. Maria Says:

    This just shows that Mother Nature is the greatest artist. I love the wonderful colors.

  5. NasseHof Says:

    What pretty blooms! This is such an inspirational place for a newbie orchid grower like me. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

  6. Kirstin Titus Says:

    great post!