The Botanical-Orchid Park has dedicated a space to a new species of orchid that has been discovered in Guatemala and that has been baptized with the name of ‘Stanhopea esteponae’.
The curator of the Parque Botánico-Orquidario has explained that the aforementioned orchid has been described, for the first time for science, by the Guatemalan botanist and agronomist Fredy Leonel Archiva Morales. The specialist, director of the Archila Family Orchid Experimental Station and associate researcher of the BIGU-USAC herbarium, has decided to name this new species with the name of Estepona to recognize “the important task of orchid conservation that is carried out in the Parque Botánico-Orquidario”.
Manuel Lucas has indicated that it is “unusual” for a botanical species to be named after a city that is thousands of kilometers from its natural habitat, which is an important recognition of the work carried out in the Estepona Orchid facilities.
The space dedicated to the ‘Stanhopea esteponae’ that has been enabled in the Botanical Park reveals the characteristics of this species, the way in which it was discovered and curiosities about its flowering.
Manuel Lucas has pointed out that its flowers are large, reaching a wingspan of up to 12 centimeters, has the typical complex structure of the genus ‘Stanhopea’, with a large and showy lip, provided with bulging horns in the mesoquillo to redirect the insects towards the pollen masses.
The ‘Stanhopea esteponae’ grows above 1,800 meters above sea level in low montane forests, very humid, with an average temperature of 18 degrees during the day and 12.5 degrees at night. These requirements make it “impossible” to keep this species in the Estepona Orchid, where the temperature in summer can reach 30 degrees.
Regarding the discovery of this new species, Fredy Leonel Archila points out that it is an endemic orchid of the wooded area of Huehuetenango, where it grows surrounded by a large number of epiphytic ferns, which gives the idea that at that point it directly impacts rain in several months of the year.
Archila and his team are currently working on its propagation and introduction into the wild, since the area where it was discovered has suffered serious damage by the hand of man.
Fredy Leonel Archila is also responsible for the rescue and reproduction of the ‘Lycaste virginalis f. Alba’, known as ‘the white nun’, a beautiful orchid that became extinct in Guatemala 21 years ago and has now been reintroduced in the forests.
For his research, his teaching vocation and his intense career as a botanist, Archila has been recognized in his country with several awards, including the Presidential Medal for the Environment, the Ulises Rojas National Order or the Jade Heart Order.