Lycaste skinneri

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Lycaste skinneri
Lycaste skinneri - Warner, Williams - Select orch. plants 1, pl. 10 (1862-1865).jpg
Illustration of Lycaste skinneri by Walter Hood Fitch
Scientific classification
L. skinneri
Binomial name
Lycaste skinneri

Lycaste skinneri, also known as Lycaste virginalis, is a species of epiphyte orchid that resides in the south of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, at an average altitude of 1650 meters above sea level.

Epiphyte non-parasitic plant that grows upon another plant but is not nourished by it

An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it. Epiphytes take part in nutrient cycles and add to both the diversity and biomass of the ecosystem in which they occur, like any other organism. They are an important source of food for many species. Typically, the older parts of a plant will have more epiphytes growing on them. Epiphytes differ from parasites in that epiphytes grow on other plants for physical support and do not necessarily negatively affect the host. An epiphytic organism that is not a plant is sometimes called an epibiont. Epiphytes are usually found in the temperate zone or in the tropics. Epiphyte species make good houseplants due to their minimal water and soil requirements. Epiphytes provide a rich and diverse habitat for other organisms including animals, fungi, bacteria, and myxomycetes.

Orchidaceae family of plants

The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants, with blooms that are often colourful and fragrant, commonly known as the orchid family.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.



Long leaves grow from its thick pseudobulbs. [1] The flowers of this species -generally individual- are triangular and grow from the base of the youngest pseudo-bulb and measure between 10 and 15 centimeters. They can vary from being completely white in the Alba variety, passing from different tones of pink to lavender. [2] This purity in color makes them the best candidate as a starting point for Lycaste hybrid formation. [3] The flower's blooming period is between November and April, with its peak being in the end of January and the beginning of February. A mature plant can produce between 4 and 12 flowers during the time of its blooming, which lasts between 6 and 8 weeks.


The pseudobulb is a storage organ found in many epiphytic and terrestrial sympodial orchids. It is derived from a thickening of the part of a stem between leaf nodes and may be composed of just one internode or several, termed heteroblastic and homoblastic respectively. All leaves and inflorescences usually arise from this structure. Pseudobulbs formed from a single internode produce the leaves and inflorescence from the top, while those that are formed from several internodes can possess leaves along its length. The modified sheath leaves that appear at the base of a pseudobulb and often enfold all or part of it are usually dry and papery, though in some orchids the sheaths bear leaf blades and the leaves at the pseudobulb's apex are reduced to scales.

Flower structure found in some plants (division Magnoliophyta / angiosperms) to support reproduction

A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants. The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs. Flowers may facilitate outcrossing or allow selfing. Some flowers produce diaspores without fertilization (parthenocarpy). Flowers contain sporangia and are the site where gametophytes develop. Many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen. After fertilization, the ovary of the flower develops into fruit containing seeds.

Centimetre unit of length equal to 1/100 of a metre

A centimetre or centimeter is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one hundredth of a metre, centi being the SI prefix for a factor of 1/100. The centimetre was the base unit of length in the now deprecated centimetre–gram–second (CGS) system of units.

It is a hermaphrodite plant capable of producing millions of seeds inside of a fruit in the form of a capsule. Nevertheless, the necessary conditions for the germination include the presence of a specific fungus, which results in the plant being very scarce whose commercialization is prohibited in Guatemala. [4] [5]

Hermaphrodite organism with both male and female reproductive organs

In biology, a hermaphrodite is an organism that has complete or partial reproductive organs and produces gametes normally associated with both male and female sexes. Many taxonomic groups of animals do not have separate sexes. In these groups, hermaphroditism is a normal condition, enabling a form of sexual reproduction in which either partner can act as the "female" or "male." For example, the great majority of tunicates, pulmonate snails, opisthobranch snails, earthworms and slugs are hermaphrodites. Hermaphroditism is also found in some fish species and to a lesser degree in other vertebrates. Most plants are also hermaphrodites.

Seed embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering

A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering . The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction in seed plants, the spermatophytes, including the gymnosperm and angiosperm plants.

Fruit part of a flowering plant

In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering.


Lycaste skinneri is found in humid forests of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, being the most abundant in Guatemala. It resides at an average altitude of 1,650 meters above sea level, where it doesn't suffer from the high temperatures during the summer or the low temperatures during the winter. Abundant cloud cover at ground level, elevates the relative humidity during the day and the dry season. It inhabits the branches of woody trees at heights where the lighting conditions are appropriate. It is very sensitive to changes in temperature which range from 27 °C to 18 °C at night and the ideal humidity for its development is between 50 and 70 percent.

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

Honduras republic in Central America

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which later became modern-day Belize. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Guatemala's patriotic symbol

This orchid, also known as the monja blanca (white nun), is the national flower [6] of the Republic of Guatemala.

In 1933, Leticia M. de Southerland, president of the International Exhibition of Flowers, celebrated in Miami Beach, Florida, sent a suggestion to the government of Guatemala that the specimen known as the Lycaste skinneri alba be designated as the national flower. This suggestion was consulted by the president of the Republic, General Jorge Ubico, with various specialists, among them was Ulises Rojas and Mariano Pacheco H. and entities like the National Library and the Society of Geography and History. The Experts took into account the beauty and the rarity of the flower and agreed with the suggestion, so that on the February 11th, 1934, the presidency of the Republic issued a decree giving the monja blanca, the denomination of national flower.

Miami Beach, Florida City in Florida, United States

Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter of which separates the Beach from Miami. The neighborhood of South Beach, comprising the southernmost 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) of Miami Beach, along with downtown Miami and the Port of Miami, collectively form the commercial center of South Florida. Miami Beach's estimated population is 92,307 according to the most recent United States census estimates. Miami Beach is the 26th largest city in Florida based on official 2017 estimates from the US Census Bureau. It has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts since the early 20th century.

Jorge Ubico President of Guatemala

Jorge Ubico Castañeda, nicknamed Number Five or also Central America's Napoleon, was a Guatemalan dictator. A general in the Guatemalan army, he was elected to the presidency in 1931, in an election where he was the only candidate. He continued his predecessors' policies of giving massive concessions to the United Fruit Company and wealthy landowners, as well as supporting their harsh labor practices. Ubico has been described as "one of the most oppressive tyrants Guatemala has ever known" who compared himself to Adolf Hitler. He was removed by a pro-democracy uprising in 1944, which led to the ten-year Guatemalan Revolution.

The National Library of Guatemala is the national library of Guatemala. It is located in Zone 1 of Guatemala City near the National Palace of Guatemala.

On August 9, 1946, during the governance Juan Jose Arevalo, with the purpose of protecting the species from extinction in Guatemala, a government decree was issued that prohibited the collection and export of the species. The same agreement was modified on June 4, 1947 to extend the ban on pseudobulbs and flowers, as well as to include the rest of the species of this botanical family. In 1997, when they began to make 50 cent coins, the monja blanca was used as one of the faces on the new coin. [7]

Evolution, phylogeny and taxonomy

It was first introduced by George Ure Skinner [8] in Guatemala, where the alba variety is commonly known as the monja blanca and is the national flower of said country.

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  1. "Lycaste Culture: Growing and Flowering Lycastes".
  2. "Lycaste Skinneri". Archived from the original on 2007-09-16.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. "Some Cultural Notes on Lycaste skinneri". Archived from the original on 2001-10-30.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. "Simbolos Patrios". Archived from the original on 2010-01-26.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. "Lycaste". Archived from the original on 2007-07-07.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. McNally, Shelagh (2006). Guatemala. NJ: Hunter Publishing. p. 8. ISBN   9781588435286 via EBSCO.
  7. "Monja Blanca". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. "Easy Orchids - Lycaste Skinneri".