A Blog Post About Costa Rica’s Floral Emblem Cattleya

Cattleya: Costa Rica's Floral Emblem

February 20, 2017

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The National Flower of Costa Rica

Hello again, I'm Naho, a girl who would love to spend this summer by the sea. If there is a country where it's summer throughout the year, a tropical paradise that's surrounded by the beautiful sea, it has to be Costa Rica, a well-known surfing destination located in Central America.

Just like the country itself, its national flower is also full of tropical charm. Today I would like to talk about Costa Rica's floral emblem, the cattleya, and explore more of the country's abundant nature.

The Origin of the Name "Cattleya"

Caught between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea is Costa Rica, a land of everlasting summer. The flower that was chosen to be its floral emblem is called cattleya, a species of orchid native to Central America. Cattleyas are famous for their large, showy flowers and their pleasant aroma, and are very popular as ornamental plants.

Amongst the various species within the orchid family, cattleyas are crowned "the Queen of orchids" - such is their popularity.

The person who gave cattleyas their name is not from Costa Rica, but England. A gentleman called William Cattley grew a specimen of cattleya that was used to pack up other plants, and it bloomed into a beautiful flower. That's where the name of cattleya came from.

When cattleyas were first introduced to Japan, people were amazed by their beauty and compared the appearance of the gorgeous flower to that of a rising sun. Therefore, cattleyas are nicknamed "sunrise orchid" (hinode-ran) in Japan. We can see that cattleyas are popular well beyond Costa Rica, and all over the world!

The Rare Pristineness of Costa Rica's Nature

Costa Rica is richly endowed with nature. In fact, 90% of its land area used to be covered by dense forests. It is estimated that Costa Rica contains 5% of the world's biodiversity, and the entire country is dedicated to environment protection with plans of extensively building parks and wilderness areas.

A place where one can enjoy the abundant nature of Costa Rica is its Tortuguero National Park. Taking a boat and rowing into the depth of the jungles, one can get an extremely close look at wildlife such as crocodiles and waterfowls.

Another one of the country's must-visit places is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Famous for sheltering the marvelous quetzal that is widely known for its brilliantly colored beak, the place is also home to hundreds of unique birds that are rarely seen elsewhere, making it a popular destination for bird watchers from around the globe.

The Meaning of "Costa Rica"

In Spanish, Costa Rica simply means the "rich coast," and that is believed to be where the name of the country came from.

As can be seen from the origin of its name, the official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. Being the main language spoken in more than 20 countries all over the world, Spanish is said to be the third most important language of the 21st century!

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