Monja Blanca, Guatemala's national flower

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Culture & Science - Ecology and Environment
Monday, 05 July 2010 08:39

Monja Blanca, flor nacional de Guatemala

Monja Blanca, Guatemala's national flower. The virginalis Lycaste, commonly called the Monja Blanca , is an epiphytic plant (meaning it lives on other plants) and belongs to the orchid family, one of the most numerous kinds of flowers, with over 35,000 species.

Presents similar characteristics to the classic orchid, the pseudobulbs, which is the thickening of the stem where water is deposited, that the adaptation to live in places few environments; are between 10 and 15 cms and can be white, pink or lavender tones.


Its flower is formed by petals, and one of them becomes the center, the lip, used for pollinating insects, their flowering is between November and April, occurring between 4 and 12 flowers per plant that last 6 to 8 weeks.

La Monja Blanca is hermaphrodite , the fruit is a kind of capsule which contains millions of seeds, but these seeds need a certain fungus to germinate , and that is the reason for the shortage of this flower.

Living mainly in northwestern Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras s, preferring moist soils, living at an altitude of 1,650 m above sea level, and usually inhabit the branches of tall trees searching for sunlight.

On February 11, 1934 was declared National Flower of Guatemala by the General Ubico Presidential Decree, the proposal was sent by Leticia M. of Southerland, president of the international flower exhibition held in Miami Beach in 1933.

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