The Orchids of Raja Ampat
We’ve written before about the incredible endemic fauna species of Raja Ampat but have never really mentioned flora. Most people may visit Papua Paradise Eco Resort for the amazing underwater sights, but it’s definitely worth it to do some exploring above the water as well.
The jungles of Raja Ampat are packed full of plants and flowers you won’t see anywhere else in the world. Most impressive to many are the orchids that are either endemic to the area or very rare. There are more than 200 distinctive species on the islands. Let’s take a look at some of the most breathtaking orchids you’ll find in Raja Ampat.
One of the most sought after orchids in the world, Papuan black orchids are quite a sight to behold. These striking flowers have uniformly black petals with a bright pink lip and column. The contrast between the colours is striking and has made them highly prized.
However, these orchids are protected by law and cannot be transported outside of their habitat. Those who do try to grow them from seed outside of West Papua have only a 20%-30% success rate. In fact, they are so difficult to grow that one plant has been known to sell for IDR100,000,000, or the equivalent of about US $10,000!
One of the most strikingly patterned of all orchids, the tiger orchid is spotted or mottled in brown patterns resembling a tiger. This orchid is not endemic to Raja Ampat, and can be grown outside the region, but is definitely a favorite of orchid enthusiasts.
Tiger orchid bouquets can reach 1.5-2 meters, but the flowers are actually quite small and closely packed. They only bloom once a year but will last for up to two months so you have a good chance of seeing at least some in bloom.
Kribo, meaning frizzy or kinky, reflects the strange curls and kinks in the shape of this orchid. These orchids grow high up the trees and look more alien than flora. This is such a striking orchid, it is the symbol for Papua State University. I think you’ll agree that this is an amazing looking orchid and to see it in its natural habitat would be a real treat.
It is all thanks to the remoteness of the Raja Ampat archipelago that the islands are blessed with such incredible biodiversity and sheer number of endemic and rare species. The lush forests continue to thrive due to low populations and tourist numbers as well as the richness of the ecosystem.
Papua Paradise Eco Resort doesn’t offer a specific orchid tour but does have regular treks through Batanta Island and to search for Birds of Paradise. On both of these tours there are treks through jungle where you will see an amazing variety of flora, including orchids growing wild.
If you’d like to know more about these tours, click here or leave us a message in the comments box below.