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Licenciate in Biology, Yunelis graduated in the Biology Faculty of the University of Havana in 2003. Since this time she has been part of the investigative group at the Jardín Botánico Orquideario Soroa, where she has been working on the biotechnology of orchids. She has participated in various workshops and scientific events concerning the ecology of orchids. At present she is studying for her Masters in Agroecology and Agroecology at the University of Pinar del Río.
Esther Liliam Santa Cruz Cabrera
Licenciate in Sociocultural Studies, Lily graduated at la Sede Municipal Candelaria of the University of Pinar del Río. She has been working in the Jardín Botánico Orquideario Soroa since 1994 in the orchid laboratory, where she has been working with both native and exotic species. She has partipated in various scientific events and has developed techniques for use in the living collections and in the herbarium.
El Jardín Botánico Orquidario Soroa
With around three hundred species, including a number of endemics, Cuban orchids form an important component of the broader Caribbean flora, and have connections both with those of Meso-America and North America.
90 kilometres west of Havana, el Jardín Botánico Orquideario Soroa (JBOS) nestles on the side of a valley in the mountains of Cuba’s Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. Originally called ‘Rancho Pilila’, Orquideario Soroa was built by Don Tomás Felipe Camacho (1886-1961). In addition to the living collections, Camacho assembled a library specialising in orchids and other ornamental plants: still considered to be the richest, most varied and up-to-date in the country. Amongst more recent works are preserved old documents, volumes dating back to the 19th century and registers of cultivated orchids prepared by Camacho himself.
Under the guidance of Rolando Pérez Márquez, its current Scientific Director, the Garden has developed an interdisciplinary approach to study of Cuban native orchids. As just one example, the biology of Brassia caudata, is being studied with a view to possible re-introduction and augmentation of naturally occurring populations. The project involves the monitoring of populations in the wild; unravelling the individual phenology of the species; collection of seeds from mature fruits; raising seedlings under laboratory conditions; and learning about the process of adaptation of plantlets after they have been transplanted into the wild. Plants are illustrated by José Bocourt Vigil, the garden’s resident artist.
Unusually for a botanical garden, much emphasis is placed on the study of orchid pests and diseases, and their control. This has resulted in the publication of many papers both in Cuban and in international journals. The exchange of information, education in its broadest terms, is an important function of botanical gardens. In addition to hosting regular international orchid workshops aimed at the scientific community, Orquideario Soroa also generates income by running one week orchid courses for orchid aficionados in both Spanish and in English.
Notes on some Cuban orchid species to be stored as part of OSSSU
Basiphyllaea wrightii (Griseb.) Nir
Bletia antillana M. A. Díaz and Sosa
Brassia caudata (Linnaeus) Newmann
Broughtonia cubensis (Lindley) Cogniaux
Broughtonia ortgiesiana (Reichembach f.) Cogniaux
Encyclia bipapularis (Reichenbach f.) Acuna
Encyclia bocourtii Mújica and Pupulin
Encyclia cajalbanensis Mújica, Bocourt and Pupulin
Encyclia oxypetala (Lindley) Acuna
Encyclia phoenicea (Lindley) Neumann
Oncidium ensatum Lindley
Tetramicra eulophiae Reichenbach f.
Tolumnia guibertiana (Richard) Braem
Tolumnia lemoniana (Lindley) Braem