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Posts Tagged ‘orchids’

What has at least three names, religious undertones and is produced exclusively in Venezuela?

Venezuela’s national flower, of course!

In Venezuela, the variety of orchid known to botanists as Cattleya mossiae is called either Flor de Mayo (May flower), Mayito (Little May) or Flor del Nazareno (Flower of the Nazarene), all of which relate to its springtime blooming season. Because the flower reaches its splendor right around Easter, the Catholic Church has incorporated it into many of its ceremonies and religious displays.

To read more about what makes this flower special visit the Human Flower Project.

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The orchid is Venezuela’s national flower. It’s no surprise, then, that the country was well represented at the Redland Orchid Festival in South Florida this week. Seasoned growers of these perennial plants hailed from Caracas and Maracay.

The Miami Herald quoted Alexis Pardo, the Maracay horticulturist, as saying: “This is a wonderful festival, both for the collaborations and interchange between growers and the good prices everyone gets for the plants.”

There are an astounding 22,000 known species of orchids in the world. Venezuela’s prized flower is the Easter Orchid or Flor de Mayo, like the one pictured here. The festival also included varities from Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.

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We brought you Venezuela’s national bird. We brought you its best-known literary traditions. And also some other, lesser known traditions. Now, it’s time to find out about the national flower.

The Cattleya Orchid, also known as the “Easter Orchid” and “Flor de Mayo,” blooms during the months of April and May. Its spiritual significance makes it a feature of parades during Semana Santa, the week before Easter.

This showy orchid can be white, pink, purple, red or practically any color in between. It was declared Venezuela’s national flower in 1951, and can still be seen in the wild in many parts of the country, particularly in the coastal mountain range and on the slopes of the Venezuelan Andes.

Of course, the flower is also honored in popular culture in Venezuela: to listen to a folk song by composer Otilio Galíndez called “Flor de Mayo,” click here.

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