All photos by Francisco Miranda and are taken from the book
ORCHIDS FROM THE BRAZILIAN AMAZON
Photo: Sergio Araujo




The Amazon is the largest equatorial rain forest on Earth and the Amazon region occupies approximately half the surface of Brazilian territory coinciding with the whole northern region of the country.
Its relief varies from altitude inferior to 200m above sea level to 800m. The Amazon basin climate is considered warm, with annual average temperatures of over 24o C which is lower in bordering areas. Rainfall is not uniform and its annual averages are over 3,000mm in some regions.
The Amazon flora is extremely varied and in the book "Orchids from the Brazilian Amazon", Francisco Miranda discloses part of the wonderful Brazilian orchidaceae flora. Although he considers that there is much more to be found, mainly the species of small flowers, he thinks it is possible to draw a basic profile of this flora.
The genus most represented in number of species is Catasetum, with more than 40 species already described and some others still to be described corresponding approximately two thirds of the genus species known in Brazil. Almost all the species of Mormodes and Cycnoches also occur in the Amazon, so we can deduce that the Catasetum has the its main distribution area in the region.
The species of Maxillaria and Pleurothallis are also numerous. From approximately 150 species of Maxillaria existing in Brazil, at about 20% occur in Amazon region. Amazingly, Laelia is completely absent and Cattleya is represented by few species, three with widespread distribution in the lowlands and two only in the mountains which border the region with Venezuela.
There are typically Amazon genera where every or almost every species occurs there. Some of the most characteristic and ornamental of them are Acacallis, Batemania, Caularthon, Coryanthes, Galeandra, Paphinia, Peristeria and Zygosepalum. We can find species of Encyclia, Epidendrum and Oncidium among others which are typically Amazon although the greatest concentration of species occurs in the Southeast region.

So vast region presents such tremendous variety of habitats that they had been divided into five topics in the book:



SOME HABITATS




SOME SPECIMENS



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