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The Monkey-Faced Orchid of Ecuador (Photos)

Posted in: Ecuador Travel

One of the most amazing flowers I’ve ever seen is the monkey faced orchid. The first time I ever saw this orchid was at the orchidarium in Cuenca Ecuador. It’s hard to believe how much it actually looks like a little monkey face. Talk about a flower with personality!

Monkey faced orchid Cuenca Ecuador

Monkey-Faced Orchids in Cuenca Ecuador

These orchids grow in the cloud forests of Ecuador and Peru at 1000 to 2000 meters above sea level. When this little monkey is in full bloom it smells like a ripe orange.

The monkey faced orchid (along with all tropical orchids) is an epiphyte so, like an air plant, it depends on other plants for support.

Monkey faced orchids flash

The monkey faced (Dracula simia) orchid gets it’s name from “dracula” referring to the long fang-like parts hanging down from the flower and “simia” referring to a monkey.

It’s also called the monkey-like Dracula.

Two monkey faced orchids CuencaWhen I saw this orchid it made me reflect on an aspect of beauty that can sometimes be overlooked. So I made a little poster…


“A lot is said about beauty… but personality makes a lasting impression.”

Have you seen the monkey faced orchid? Where, and what were you thoughts? Please share by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

9 comments… add one
  • Charles Caywood Dec 23, 2013, 12:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing and the description. Hopefully I will see the orchids and many of the other items you have posted. I will be in Cuenca this February for a couple of weeks and look forward to meeting you and some of the folks who respond to your articles.
    Merry Christmas

  • mohammad Dec 23, 2013, 10:53 am

    I’m never seen like this amazing kind of Orchid.Thank you very much. By the way, i hope to you and your family a very Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • Betty Quon Dec 22, 2013, 10:44 pm

    We saw these orchids at the botanical gardens in DC this summer. They really are amazing! I love your comment about beauty. It’s true! I saw any beautiful flowers but cannot describe any of them now.-but I certainly remember the monkey faced orchid!

  • Alicia Rodriguez Dec 22, 2013, 7:03 pm

    Some of the most beautiful orchids I have seen were in the Orchid Garden in Mindo. It is tucked away in a side street of Mindo. The hummingbirds and butterflies dance around the hundreds of orchids found there. Here is my blog post on this beautiful sanctuary in Mindo, Ecuador.

  • Eric Dec 22, 2013, 4:25 pm

    That is very interesting Folks. a monkey faced flower. We can see that the creator had man in mind when e made these beautiful flowers . not only with a monkey face but such a beautiful color and an aroma too.

  • Jimmy Chase Dec 22, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Another place that specializes in orchids is ECUAGENERA . They have quite a display of orchids. The family who started it came from the Amazon Basin and had been trained to raise orchids by a priest. It is just south of Cuenca and on the highway

  • Jimmy Chase Dec 22, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Another place that specializes in orchids is ECUAGENERA . They have quite a display of orchids. The family who started it came from the Amazon Basin and had been trained to raise orchids by a priest.

  • Lydia Evdoxiadi Dec 18, 2013, 9:07 am

    This is just amazing! I love the photos, the emotions and the discovery aspect of your writings. Having moved myself several times and travelling a lot, I can say it’s made both me and my 10 year old daughter better global citizens. It would be great to read an article about in which aspects of your daily life change has helped you connect with the world and others even better!


  • cheree butt Dec 17, 2013, 9:50 am

    Wow…. you are so right.. I won’t forget this. So beautiful.Isn’t creation amazing.l love seeing new things.

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