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Mazamitla–Orchids in the Trees

Mazamitla–Orchids in the Trees

Dan, Omar, and Coco go orchid hunting in Mazamitla

Dan, Omar, and Coco go orchid hunting in Mazamitla

December 25, 2006

They call it “Mexico’s Switzerland.”  It doesn’t look much like Switzerland in the photos, but Mazamitla is green with lots of pine trees, and at times it looks more European than Mexican, if you stand on your head and squint.  Here Omar and I explore the Los Cazos section of town and look for orchids and bromeliads in the trees.

Mazamitla is in the Sierra del Tigre Mountains, where mountain lions roam the cool forests and orchids, bromeliads, and insectivorous piguiculas abound.

Mazamitla is in the Sierra del Tigre Mountains, where mountain lions roam the cool forests and orchids, bromeliads, and insectivorous piguiculas abound.

Dirt roads wind through high oak and pine forests, often leading to incredible views.

Dirt roads wind through high oak and pine forests, often leading to incredible views.

On very clear days you can see all the way to the Paracutin volcano in Michoacan from this spot.  A perfect place to hunt orchids!

On very clear days you can see all the way to the Paracutin volcano in Michoacan from this spot. A perfect place to hunt orchids!

Omar and Coco, ready to hike.  Coco loves hiking as long as she's being carried.

Omar and Coco, ready to hike. Coco loves hiking as long as she's being carried.

They are standing under a beautiful plant in the banana family.  Log bridges add an alpine air.

They are standing under a beautiful plant in the banana family. Log bridges add an alpine air.

The plant is flowering, with an inflorescence a good 2 feet across.

The plant is flowering, with an inflorescence a good 2 feet across.

Dan in front of one of the gorgeous cabins in the area.

Dan in front of one of the gorgeous cabins in the area.

We're over a mile up, so we rest pretty often.  We're in no hurry anyway--just enjoying the day.

We're over a mile up, so we rest pretty often. We're in no hurry anyway--just enjoying the day.

Another beautiful house.  We live in grasslands, so it is a real treat to see water and humidity-loving plants.

Another beautiful house. We live in grasslands, so it is a real treat to see water and humidity-loving plants.

In a steep gully.  "I think I found a nice orchid for you!"

In a steep gully. "I think I found a nice orchid for you!"

And here it is--a nice terrestrial, right on the rim of a cliff.  Omar always spots the first orchid.

And here it is--a nice terrestrial, right on the rim of a cliff. Omar always spots the first orchid.

But I find the first epiphytic (growing on a tree) orchid, an Encyclia.  This one has small green flowers, like flying mosquitos, and is one of our favorites.

But I find the first epiphytic (growing on a tree) orchid, an Encyclia. This one has small green flowers, like flying mosquitoes, and is one of our favorites.

Can you find the orchid plants?  There are at least three.  Sometimes they are hard to pick out.  Orchids love to grow on oaks, where they hitch a ride to get lots of sun.  They are not parasitic, though--they just live on the branches.

Can you find the orchid plants? There are at least three. Sometimes they are hard to pick out. Orchids love to grow on oaks, where they hitch a ride to get lots of sun. They are not parasitic, though--they just live on the branches.

Mixed pines and oaks.   Some days Mazamitla smells like Pine-Sol!  Contrary to popular opinion, many more orchids grow in cool, misty climates than in hot, jungley ones.

Mixed pines and oaks. Some days Mazamitla smells like Pine-Sol! Contrary to popular opinion, many more orchids grow in cool, misty climates than in hot, jungley ones.

A Pleurothalid.  Omar's mother expected huge Easter corsages to be dripping from the trees when we told her we saw orchids.  Once you see them, the little ones can be real charmers as well!

A Pleurothalid. Omar's mother expected huge Easter corsages to be dripping from the trees when we told her we saw orchids. Once you see them, the little ones can be real charmers as well!

Another genus.  You'd have to go back once a month to catch all the different orchids in bloom and identify them.

Another genus. You'd have to go back once a month to catch all the different orchids in bloom and identify them.

We just missed this one's flowers.  Another Pleurothalid.

We just missed this one's flowers. Another Pleurothalid.

"Yes, Daddy, yes.  Please tell me ONCE AGAIN how it isn't a parasite.  You don't have any canned peaches I can chew on, do you?"

"Yes, Daddy, yes. Please tell me ONCE AGAIN how it isn't a parasite. You don't have any canned peaches I can chew on, do you?"

"I sense food nearby!"

"I sense food nearby!"

Blackberries!  We've picked them from the Adirondacks to the Mountain Lion Mountains of southern Jalisco!

Blackberries! We've picked them from the Adirondacks to the Mountain Lion Mountains of southern Jalisco!

Taken from atop a cliff.  In the middle of the photo you can see a large bromeliad in flower.  It looks like a Billbergia.

Taken from atop a cliff. In the middle of the photo you can see a large bromeliad in flower. It looks like a Billbergia.

A happy boy and his dog, ready to start a fire at the cabin, drink some ponche, and eat!  I know--they look Photoshoped in.  They were real dark, so I lightened them.

A happy boy and his dog, ready to start a fire at the cabin, drink some ponche, and eat! I know--they look Photoshoped in. They were real dark, so I lightened them.

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Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.