The Guaria Morada was decreed the national flower on June 15th, 1939 under the government of Mr. León Cortés Castro by the Secretary of State for Development and Agriculture, agreement No. 24. Subsequently, by Executive Agreement No. 24, on November 1972, it was establishing the second week of March as the Costa Rican Orchid Week, under the government of Mr. José Figueres Ferrer.
History tells that in 1939 in Argentina was founded a botanical garden called the Garden of Peace and asked to Costa Ricans to send its national flower, to show off with other flowers from different countries. Since then, the country did not have a national flower, so the government asked to the Garden Club and the Rotary Club to make a contest and to choose the flower that will represent Costa Rica from then on. In the competition were very appreciate Costa Ricans facts, as it originated in America and was very rooted in our customs. The winner was the Guarianthe skinneri orchid (Cattleya skinneri before), popularly known as the abode Guaria Morada.
It is the most cultivated orchid in Costa Rica. Its name was in honor of its discoverer, George Ure Skinner, who was an English trader who lived in Guatemala and sent plants from Central America and southern Mexico to Europe. This name was given in England, by the botanist James Bateman as a way to honor its discoverer. It is an epiphyte flower on trees, which bloom extends from February to March. It is called “Guaria Morada” (Purple Guaria) because of the reddish purple color of flowers, similar to blueberries. The appearance of flowers during the month of March, in addition to the appreciation that the Costa Rican have, makes this flower used for the decoration of altars during Lent and Holy Week celebrations.
Although the orchid is widespread throughout Central America, is in Guatemala (where it is also known as Candelaria Flower or San Sebastian Flower) and in Costa Rica where it is abundant and grows in greater proportion.
Today, the Guaria Morada decorates walls and gardens. Many fans of the flowers grow cultivated and make many statements of “Guarias” as the Ticos (Costa Ricans) call in orchids, where we can observe in all its glory, the beauty of their colors and varieties. Costa Rica has the privilege of having more than 1000 species of orchids; in fact Monteverde is the region with more density of orchids on the planet. It is not a parasite, but grows in walls and in trunks and branches of trees or in pots mossy scent and happy environment.