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Travel Photo Thursday: Jamaican Orchids

I don’t have a green thumb but I love flowers, especially orchids. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to love me. Each time I buy one, I think it will be different, it will last more than a few months.  Each time, I’ve been wrong.

Now that I’m in Jamaica, where orchids are plenty and grow wild, I’m tempted but I’m gun shy. So for now, I’m satisfied to take photos of the ones I see.

Jamaican orchid

Jamaican orchid

Over 30,000 species of orchids can be found worldwide. Approximately 230 are found in Jamaica. Of that number, about 70 are endemic to the island.

The main threat to Jamaican orchids is from the destruction of their habitats caused by land clearing for housing, hotel and agricultural development, bauxite and/or limestone mining, harvesting of forest products for timber, fuel wood, fish pots, yam sticks and fence posts.

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

The second greatest threat to the species is believed to be collection by orchid enthusiasts for local and international trade. The government has enacted legislation to protect their habitats and regulate the orchid trade. Sanctuaries have also been established to relocate orchids that are found in areas under threat.

These orchids are from the gardens of friends and family.

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

Jamaican Orchid

This one is known locally as Poor Man’s Orchid. It sure looks like it could be.

Poor Man's Orchid

Poor Man's Orchid

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website!

To us, all flowers are roses

I think of that phrase from my favorite Jamaican poetess and author, Lorna Goodison, each time I ask family members and friends the names of flowering plants that adorn their gardens and they tell me they don’t know or aren’t sure. I smile and I also understand.

Jamaica is a paradise for plants and flowers. With more than 200 species of orchids, nearly half endemic to the island, several hundred types of ferns, trees and other plants it’s no wonder many of us don’t know the names of most of them.

But don’t for one second think that because we can’t call a flower by its given name that we don’t care about them. We are passionate about our flowers. Get a group of women together and the conversation will eventually get around to flowers. And if a friend, neighbor or stranger has something we don’t have, we are not above asking for a cutting.

I love flowers and enjoy discovering (to me) new ones and re-discovering those I haven’t seen in a while. But since I don’t have a green thumb, I settle for photographing them. I’ll leave it up to you to tell me their names.

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