Orchids are found in all the forest types of Laos, and although 335 species have been recorded officially, it is certain that many more species are yet to be discovered.
In the forests of Laos these beautiful flowers are known well by villagers and are called locally by different names around the country. Some orchids are named after characters in sources of literature, some from objects that they resemble, and some from folk beliefs.
These names add further interest to the beauty of the flowers. In the dry dipterocarp woodlands, moist jungles, on rock ledges and cliffs all around the country many different species are found. These forest jewels are however, increasingly being collected and sold by local people. Because of this practice some species are now at risk of disappearing from the wild. To help raise awareness about the importance of conserving orchids in their natural environment, please take only photographs of the orchids and let local people know that you enjoy seeing them in their natural place on earth.
Ecotourism, particularly when it is community based, is providing protection for some areas where village agreements have been made to protect the orchids. Visitation to these areas also promotes community awareness of the value of orchids in their natural environment. Different species flower during different months, but one of the best months to see orchids flowering in Laos is in March. Some of the 85 genera recorded in Laos include Dendrobium, Calanthe and Cymbidium .
Phou Khong Mountain in the Phou Xieng Tong National Protected Area is known for its variety of wild orchids. Tours of the area are available from Ban Mai Singsamphan led by village-based guides.