By Noelia Belfort-Oconitrillo, current Biologist-in-charge of the Orchid Conservation Project
Bosque de Paz Biological Reserve is a “hotspot” in Central America for species diversity in both the animal and plant life. It is located on the Caribbean watershed of the Cordillera Volcánica Central in Costa Rica. A long-term orchid inventory has been in progress since 2004 that is demonstrating the rich diversity of orchid species found there. To date, 230 orchid species have been recorded at the Reserve among the about 1600 for all of Costa Rica. The checklist to the orchid species includes three endemic, charming miniature species, belonging to the subtribe Pleurothallidinae, that have been discovered at the Reserve and described as new to science:
This epiphytic species was observed for the first time inside the Reserve, and was described as a new to science in 2011 by Dr. Adam Karremans and M.Sc. Melania Muñoz, both previous botanists-in-charge of the Orchid Garden. The latin silvae-pacis means “forest of peace”, chosen to honor the name of the Reserve “Bosque de Paz”. It can be found at bloom from September to March. See the complete scientific paper here
This terrestrial species was observed for the first time growing among mosses in the highlands of the Reserve, and was described as a new to science in 2015 by Dr. Diego Bogarín, Dr. Adam Karremans and M.Sc. Melania Muñoz. The name honors Dr. Stephen Kirby, geologist by profession and orchid enthusiast that co-founded the Orchid Garden and has been promoting and co-funding the Orchid Conservation Project at Bosque de Paz since 2004. It can be found at bloom at least in August and September in the wild, above the 2000 m in elevation. See the complete scientific paper here
This epiphytic species was, in first place, recorded as Pleurothallis cardiothallis, to which it is closely related. But, after studying it deeply, it was described as new to science in 2020 by Prof. Franco Pupulin, Lic. Melissa Díaz and Dr. Alec Pridgeon. The name honors the González family, who avidly support orchid research in the Reserve. It can be found at bloom at least from June to January, at 1500–1600 m in elevation. See the complete scientific paper here.
- Bogarín, D., Karremans, A. P. & Muñoz, M. 2015. Brachionidium kirbyi, a new species honoring the founder of the “Bosque de Paz” Orchid Project in Costa Rica. Die Orchidee, 66(5), 404–409.
- Karremans, A. P. & Muñoz, M. 2011. Pleurothallis silvae-pacis, a new species. The Orchid Review, 119(1295): 155–159.
- Pupulin, F. 2020. Pleurothallis. Pp. 851–857 in: F. Pupulin (ed.). Vanishing Beauty. Native Costa Rican orchids. Vol. 2: Lacaena–Pteroglossa. Oberreifenberg, Germany: Koeltz Botanical Books.