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Inventory of the Native Orchids of Trinidad and Tobago

Background

Trinidad has been a centre for botanical activity since the 18th century with many well known botanists either collecting specimens in Trinidad or using the island as a base for their visits to South America and to other Caribbean Islands. Plants collected were established here and sent on to horticultural establishments in England and other European countries.

In the 1950s the section of the flora of Trinidad and Tobago describing orchids was prepared by Richard Evans Schultes and subsequently published as "Native Orchids of Trinidad and Tobago" Pergamon Press 1960.

The Trinidad and Tobago Orchid Society was founded as the Trinidad Orchid Society in 1956 and included in the objectives of the society was "the conservation of native orchid species". Because the preparation of Native Orchids of Trinidad and Tobago was based on herbarium records, there has been much debate as to whether some of the species were actually found in these islands. Concern has also been expressed in recent times that some species have been lost from their natural habitat due to land development or indiscriminate collection.

In 1999 members of the Society received support from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme to conduct an inventory of native orchid species as a complement to the National Biodiversity Programme. The species identified were listed and photographed. This list forms a Database of Trinidad and Tobago Native Orchid Species. The database photographs have all been recently taken and each species is accompanied by a description of the plant and its habitat. Reference is made to publications which contain detailed botanical descriptions. The project was completed in 2003 with a listing of over 100 orchid species. A CD of species and habitat photographs has been prepared and is available for purchase from the Society. Work continues to locate and photograph local orchid species to update the Database.

Database Access

The information about individual species can be accessed through this alphabetical listing link.

 


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