of the Native Orchids of Trinidad and Tobago
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