Cayman’s national flower (Wild Banana Orchid) is currently in its seasonal bloom. Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park horticultural manager Nick Johnson said it is a Cayman root that is cherished.
“From the seed, it takes around seven years for a Banana Orchid to get to blooming size. So it’s important that we conserve our natural habitats. Here in the park, you’ll see hundreds of them, in bloom and they are important because they are orchids and orchids are specialists in the environment. They are very easy to lose from your environment so we should celebrate that we have so many in bloom at the moment,” said Mr. Johnson.
There are two species of the endemic Wild Banana Orchid. The var. thomsoniana which originates from Grand Cayman and Myrmecophila thomsoniana which originates from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. While the excitement continues for the traditional flower bloom, Mr. Johnson said recent research shows exactly what is keeping the flowers’ reproduction continuous.
“Very recently, Christine Rose with the National Trust found the pollinator of the Banana Orchid. It’s only in the last two years that we know exactly what pollinates these orchids and that’s a little beetle that’s called Gymnetis Lanius,” said Mr. Johnson. The Wild Banana Orchid only blooms once a year and that’s between May and June. They can only be found in our islands.