Rhyncholaelia Digbyana Orchid – National Flower of Honduras

The Rhyncholaelia Digbyana is a species of epiphytic orchid native to Honduras, where at night it fills the air with the fragrances of its citrus-like perfume.

This orchid, known as «Orchid of the Virgin», is the national flower of Honduras, due to its exceptional characteristics of beauty, vigor and distinction.

Rhyncholaelia Digbyana Orchid - National Flower of Honduras

History

From 1946 to 1969, the national flower of Honduras was the rose, which was discarded because it was not a native Honduran plant. The Rhyncholaelia digbyana orchid was declared the National Flower of Honduras on November 25, 1969, by Decree No. 96, during the administration of general Oswaldo López Arellano.

In addition, in that same act, pertinent provisions were issued for the conservation in its state and protection of the places where it is cultivated, the control of its commercialization, cultivation and scientific knowledge in school environments.

Description

The Rhyncholaelia digbyana, is an epiphytic species. It is very close to Cattleya, with which the only difference is the number of polynya, which in this species is 12, which are unequal. The stems are normally short.

The pseudobulbs, 6 to 30 cm long, are narrow, pencil-shaped, and clearly separated. Each pseudobulb develops a waxy, leathery leaf about 20 cm long.

The inflorescence is a single flower, with long, narrow ivory-white sepals and petals, sometimes a soft greenish hue. The white lip forms a tube with a central hole. The base of the lip embraces circularly surrounding the column, leaving a hole with numerous fine white fringes, like crown-shaped hair. The column carries 12 unequal pollinia. They bloom in spring or summer, which in Honduras corresponds to the months of April, May and June, the beginning of the rainy season.

Taxonomy

Rhyncholaelia digbyana was described by (Lindl.) Schltr. and published in Beihefte zum Botanischen Centralblatt. Zweite Abteilung, Systematik, Pflanzengeographie, angewandte Botanik 36(2): 477. 1918.3

Habitat

The species of this genus are epiphytes and are found in the tropical lands of Central America, and especially in Honduras.

Decree N.° 96

THE NATIONAL CONGRESS

Considering: that through Legislative Decree No. 17 of January 12, 1946, «the rose» was declared the national flower of Honduras, as one of the sacred symbols of Honduras:

Considering: that the sacred symbols of the country due to their origin and other characteristics must be representative of the nationality, and the Rose is not a flower native to Honduras;

Considering: that the orchid (Rhyncholaelia Digbyana) is a native plant of Honduras; having its flower exceptional characteristics of beauty, vigor and distinction.

Therefore,

DECREES:

Article 1. Declare the NATIONAL FLOWER of the Republic, the Orchid (Rhyncholaelia digbyana), which will be added to the other sacred symbols of Honduras.

Article 2. The Executive Power, through the Ministry of Public Education, will dictate the pertinent provisions for the conservation in its natural state and protection of the sites where this plant is cultivated; as well as for the control of its commercialization, export, cultivation and scientific knowledge in school environments.

Article 3. Repeal Legislative Decree No. 17 dated January 12, 1946.