Conservation Project

The Holy Ghost Orchid

Panama's national flower, Peristeria elata, also called the Holy Ghost Orchid or the Dove orchid, is known for its striking white flowers and dove-like column.

Unfortunately it is faced with extinction in nature, but thanks to the help of Fuzuki Miura, we have started a project to conserve and cultivate the National Flower of Panama here in our gardens.

For a donation of only $20 per year, you may help to support the conservation of countless such orchids in existence. When you become a donor, you will also receive information including pictures and descriptions about the orchids you are helping to preserve.

Peristeria elata

("Flower of the Holy Spirit") belongs to the orchid family. It is a terrestrial or epiphytic plant with fleshy leaves. It originates mainly from Ecuador, Colombia and Panama.

In Panama this species was abundant in wet montane forests. In such forests it has been found as an epiphyte plant on moss covered logs or on trees at elevations of 1100 meters. In the wild this orchid is found growing close to the ground at the edges of mature forests.


It has oval shaped bulbs up to 12cm high, elongated, flattened, and not fat with four leaves that can each reach up to one meter in length and 15cm in width. Flowers emerge from the base of the bulb, and generally in the quantity of around 4 to 12 which all have an intense marble white color and purple spots. The anther and pistil are yellow, and the central part of the flower has a well defined dove shape. Its perfume has been commented as smelling similar to beer.