Dracula Simia, The Rare Monkey-Face Orchid

Dracula Simia, The Rare Monkey-Face Orchid

Dracula simia is an orchid with a monkey-like shape, one of the 10,000 orchid species originating from cloud forests.

With its unique shape, the seeds are also small and thin, almost like dust. It can grow in tropical areas and is actually low-maintenance because it only needs bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.

Growing, this orchid can take around 3 to 8 years to bloom each season. That time span is truly worth it to see this peculiar orchid bloom and display the details of a monkey’s face.

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The Unique Shape Of Dracula Simia

Despite its unusual name, Dracula simia has center leaves that are shaped like a monkey’s face

The details are the round, toothed lip, the nose-like column, and the eye-like petals, making it look like a monkey face.

It is small to medium-sized, 10-15 cm long, short-erected, one-leafed, with textured shoots and a distinct midrib.

The flower part is defined by a white zone in the center, or red-purple. It is a single flower with a large size and hanging, that can bloom 5–6 or more flowers during its lifetime.

When it blooms, it has a fragrant scent like ripe oranges.

Native Orchid In South America

The regions that host 90 species of Dracula simia are primarily located in western Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

This orchid thrives at altitudes of 1,000 to 2,000 meters above sea level, in temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius, and in humidity levels of 80–90%.

Its habitat is challenging for humans to reach, as it is in damp and cold forests.

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The Discovery Of Dracula Orchids

In 1881, Dracula simia was first discovered by a German botanist, Carl Linnaeus, in Ecuador.

Later in 1978, an American botanist and orchid specialist, Carlyle A. Luer, established the Latin words “Dracula,” which means little dragon, and “simia,” which means a strong resemblance of apes or monkeys.

This orchid is one of 118 species in the genus Dracula and is also known as Masdevallia simia.

The scientific classification is divided into clades of Tracheophytes, Angiosperms, Monocots, order of Asparagales, family of Orchidaceae, subfamily of Epidendroideae, and the subtribe of Pleurothallidinae.

Despite belonging to a relatively large family group, Dracula simia is currently in danger of extinction.


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