Orchids are the flowers that has most species recorded in the world (30,000), is known to have existed 60 million years ago, being privileged the forests of South America and Malaysia with the more diversity; adapted to the most diverse habitats, they can be found throughout the world (only Antarctica and driest deserts of the earth they lack of them), the smaller measure they measure just a few millimeters (stenostachya Platystele), which in some cases they can only be appreciated under a magnifying glass. But you can also find the huge (Sobralia dichotoma) with dozens of bouquets of flowers, with a height of up to 4 m, that can find in the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu, houses a flora, of the most exuberant of South America, within this, highlights the ornamental flowers such as orchids, exotic and extravagant colors, with 80 genera and 400 species scientifically recorded, eight of these are new to the botanical researchers, also seven new species of orchids in three new varieties, give the Historical and Natural Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, thirty-eight new records, the publication Nº 15 of Icones Orchidacearum (global specialized scientific journal) presented in mid-August this year in the city of Cusco, three new orchids more, found in the Sanctuary.
Orchids are usually pollinated by bees, birds, wasps, moths, beetles, flies, etc. When the orchid is opened, it emits aromatic scents, inviting and seducing to some pollinators to land on the flower. In Machu Picchu a fascinating pollination occurs, being refuge of exotic birds, and more than 300 species of butterflies, that make the pollination an incredible colorful spectacle in one of the most shocking planet’s ecosystems, conformed by mountains covered abundant vegetation which in turn is home to numerous species of birds and mammals in danger of extinction, such as the spectacled bear and sachacabra or pudú, the world’s smallest deer.
It takes three to seven months to mature, after this time it opens; depending on the species, each fruit can release up to four million seeds to be released and carried by air currents or transported by pollinators, if they fail to germinate a log or branch, giving way to the symbiosis with the fungus germination, appearing the first leaves. After 5 or 6 years, the orchid reach their adult stage, stage from which sprout beautiful flowers for several years.
People say that a popular legend, the story of a forbidden love; a beautiful princess of the Andes in love with an Inca warrior, hidding her love because she was destined for the Sun God. It is said that when his father found out, forbade the princess to see the warrior. She when hears this decision, began to run through the Andes, crying for her forbidden love, time would take care to make she in the Waqanki beautiful orchid (Masdevallia veitchiana Rchb. F.) Carries the spirit of the beautiful princess, so every time when he found her, he would remember his beloved, and he could weep with sorrow.
This would be the only testimony that the orchids existed in the Inca empire, it is both the attachment to this legend that even in these days you can hear songs about love and beautiful warrior Waqanki.