There is a certain magic and allure associated with one of the world’s oldest flowers, the orchid. With approximately 3,200 species of orchids growing in Papua New Guinea, it’s no surprise that this blossom, as diverse as PNG itself, is one of my favourite flowers. These incredible flowers are personified by their unique and sometimes bizarre shapes, their enchanting scents and beautiful colours and they are found in abundance throughout PNG.
These blossoms have been found and collected from across the country including coral reefs at sea level to 4,000 metres high in the mountains where keen collectors of the orchid become enveloped by the thin misty mountainous air. One of my personal favourites, found high in the mountains of PNG is the aptly named Flame Orchid. This orchid is bursting with brilliant fire-orange petals and is shaped like a flat hand, which is a shape synonymous with many mountain dwelling orchids. Another incredible orchid is the Dendrobium Spectabile. Orchid enthusiasts either love or hate this flower due to its unusual blossoms, often described as alien. Its exquisitely ruffled petals are so unique that this orchid is a collector’s item and takes 4-5 years to flower.