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A New Orchid Species Discovered at Bosque De Paz Biological Reserve in Costa Rica

Adam P Karremans and Melania Muñoz García are proud to announce the discovery and classification of Pleurothallis silvae-pacis, a new orchid species entirely new to science, that has been found at the Bosque de Paz Private Biological Reserve in Costa Rica.

Adam Karremans is a researcher at Lankester Botanical Gardens, University of Costa Rica, and Melania Muñoz García is the biologist in charge of Bosque de Paz Orchid Project since 2004.


Adam first became aware of the find on a trip to Bosque de Paz in 2008. “I had never seen such a species before, and tried to give it a name. For some time I had misidentified it asPleurothallis angusta. But then, with the ongoing research on the wholePleurothallidinae subtribe (to which this species belongs), the case was reviewed in 2010. After careful comparison, which is done comparing flowers and plants of the type material,  illustrations, descriptions and wild collected plants of P. angusta and other close relatives, we came to the conclusion that this was a different species which had no name. The species was quite hard to place within the Pleurothallis genus because of its intermediate features. In any case Melania and I wrote an article publishing this relatively beautiful and strange new species in 2011. I am at the moment also extracting DNA from it just to be sure of its placement.”

Their findings were published in The Orchid Review in November, 2011.
Click to read: Karremans & Muñoz 2011 The Orchid Review 119(1295) 155-159

The Orchid Review is the oldest and most influential orchid magazine in the world and essential reading for anyone with a passion for orchids. It is more than 100 years old and is the orchid journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. The Orchid Review, edited by Sarah Brooks, is published four times a year and has been chosen as the official journal of the European Orchid Council.  The new orchid species is in the Bosque de Paz Orchid Garden now for all to see.

Many bird watchers and orchid enthusiasts have visited Bosque de Paz over the years.One of them, Dr. Stephen Kirby, arrived in for the first time in 1996. Dr. Kirby began visiting Bosque de Paz, first as a birder, and then later with a budding interest in wild orchids. He now is an expert that gives international conferences about his research in orchids at Bosque de Paz. He began supporting and coordinating the orchid project in 2004, and the Bosque de Paz Orchid Garden is named after him.

His love of this unique and pristine vast private reserve, and its philanthropic owners, inspired him to reveal his impressions to others in the article below. Bosque de Paz is truly the old and natural Costa Rica that everyone should experience.

Bosque de Paz Biological Reserve: Elegant Lodging and Dining in an Accessible Cloud-Forest Natural Wonderland
By Dr. Stephen Kirby

Bosque de Paz means “Forest of Peace” in Spanish. For a visitor, there can be no more peaceful place on Earth than Bosque de Paz Reserve, sitting under the Terrace in a late-afternoon downpour, rain tapping on its metal roof and dripping from the trees, and the sound of water rushing down the valley. In the early morning as the sun first touches the forest and mists rise from its warmth, the sounds of howler monkeys and the squeaky-grating calls of hummingbirds in aerial combat greet the early risers. Adding to these daytime visual experiences, flashing fireflies grace the evenings, the crisp night air is often filled with perfume of night-scented flowers and, on clear nights, the glow of the moon and brilliant Milky Way light the footpaths near the Lodge.

This year marks a dozen years since Bosque de Paz Cloud Forest Reserve and twelve-room Lodge and Dining Room for the guests, began serving domestic and international eco-tourists. During those twelve years, the remarkable diversity of wildlife and plants, and the splendid forest access along the 22-km system of trails in this cloud forest, the Reserve have made it a favorite of visitors and nature guides who return again and again to explore its fascinating trails and pristine waterways.


Owners Vanessa & Federico

The Reserve started in the 1980’s when the owners, the Federico González-Pinto family, quietly began buying mixed forest and deforested land that had been used for grazing. The 1000-hectare (2500-acre) property is now an evolving mixed forest, some primary, others mature reforested, others being reforested. The aims of the Reserve are to promote continued forest conservation and forest restoration, to provide a corridor for animal migration between the Juan Castro Blanco and Poás Volcano National Parks, and to provide sustained employment for local residents, many of whom live in nearby the nearby Bajos del Toro Amarillo.

At 1500 to 2200 meters elevation on the Caribbean slope of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range in the upper Rio Toro Valley, the Reserve spans the boundary between middle- and upper-elevation cloud-forest environments. This crossroad of tropical life results in an exceptional diversity of plants and animals. Birding guides especially value the more than 370 bird species of birds that have been identified at the Reserve, more than one third of the species found in all Costa Rica. These include examples of many species of Costa Rica’s most spectacular, rare, or hard-to-find species, such as the Resplendent Quetzal, the Scaled Antpitta, the Emerald Toucanet, the Three-Wattled Bellbird, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, the Zeledonia, the Black-faced Solitaire, the Golden-browed Chlorophonia, and the elusive Silvery-fronted Tapaculo. Especially appealing are the 27 species of hummingbirds that visit the Reserve.

Leading orchid scientists and orchid enthusiasts have also marveled at the hundreds of species of orchid found at Bosque de Paz. An orchid garden was created near the Lodge about ten years ago, with plants relocated from fallen trees and branches along the trails and now it boasts more than 215 verified orchid species.


Bosque de Paz Waterfall

With all of these visual delights from nature, the Reserve is a photographer’s and artist’s paradise. The place spans the range of light from the mists of early morning and late afternoon to the brilliant sunlight of midday. Photographs and paintings from nature grace many of the walls of the Lodge, Dining Room, and Assembly Building.

Just a two short hours drive from San José and the Juan Santamaría International Airport, the Reserve is very easily accesable. Across the valley is the northwest slope of Poás Volcano. Its central location permits day-trip tours to OTS La Selva, the Sarapiqui River, Poás Volcano, Arenal Volcano, the Caño Negro Wildlife Sanctuary, and Carara National Park. Visitors often comment that the typically mild daytime temperatures of 15 to 25 °C (60 to 80) are a welcome relief from the tropical heat of lowland Costa Rica.

Visiting this heaven from modern life is definitely not roughing it. Splendid meals are served that are fusions of traditional Costa Rican cooking, local fresh ingredients, and old-world cuisine. The comfortable lodging rooms were built from local materials by local artisans and may be described as “rustic elegant”. Service is impeccable and both English and Spanish are spoken. This is also a great place to meet like-minded travelers of the world and appreciators of nature, sharing their world experiences and the delights of the Reserve. The thousands of guests who have visited Bosque de Paz over the years are its best advertisement through enthusiastic word of mouth.

Getting there and contacting Bosque de Paz: All-season access from San José is along the Pan American Highway and from Naranjo along paved roads through the towns of Zarcero, Palmira, and Pueblo Nuevo. Transportation by van may be booked through the Reserve. There is also bus service from San José to Zarcero and a taxi may be taken from there to the Reserve.

Reservations are required, even for day tours, and may be completed online at or by e-mail at An on-site nature guide can be hired who enriches any hike on the extensive system of trails. Small meetings of up to 24 people without the distractions of the outside world, may be accommodated in the comfortable and attractive Assembly Building.