Don’t miss our new Cloud Forest exhibit
Posted: 3 Jan 2020
New for 2020, the Cloud Forest exhibit features a special type of tropical montane rainforest.
Cloud forests are found at higher attitudes and are cooler than lowland rainforests. Mosses and other epiphytes such as orchids, aroids and ferns cover the trunks and branches of trees.
These are all featured in the exhibit, with around 100 new plant species. Some of the orchids are not what you would expect. They take many forms, and with some of them you will have to look closely to truly appreciate the flowers.
Look out for stunning plants
This long-leaved aroid can be found in lower parts of cloud forests up to an altitude of around 800m. Ranging from Cuba and Central America to Guyana, it appears to be most common in Nicaragua and Colombia.
This orchid is endemic to Mexico, where the flowers are used as decorations for the Day of the Dead Festival. Sadly, this orchid is now presumed to be extinct in the wild due to deforestation and over-collection. The conservation of this species continues in botanical gardens.
This orchid is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List as it has such a small range. It has only ever been found on a small rocky outcrop in the Minas Gerais area of Brazil, where its habitat is threatened by mining.
Known for its red long tubular shaped flowers that look like leaping fish, this plant grows as an epithyte and can cascade down on long 1m length stems. Columneas are found all over Central and South America.
The Living Rainforest has a large collection of Stanhopea orchids. In the wild, these orchids rely on bees for pollination. The flowers produce strong complex fragrances to attract the bees. These large and striking flowers only last 24-72 hours. These orchids will be introduced to the exhibit as and when they flower.
Proud to partner with Writhlington School Orchid Project
Members of the Writhlington School Orchid Project have provided many of the orchids, and more importantly extensive consultancy and advice in preparing this new exhibit. The Living Rainforest and Trust for Sustainable Living are very grateful for their partnership and support.
The Project is an enterprise run by Writhlington School and Mendip Studio School pupils from years 7 to 13, based around the laboratory propagation of orchids from seed, greenhouse cultivation and sale of seedlings and plants to the public. Student expeditions to Sarawak, Rwanda, Laos, Sikkim and other bio-diverse tropical habitats have been used to initiate and support the development of sustainable community enterprise, conservation and education in line with the aims of the Convention on Biological Diversity.