“It is a sad occurrence but plant theft is a real occurrence all over the world; from personal gardens through to botanic gardens and parks. When plant theft happens, the gardeners and horticulturists who put their heart and souls into their work take it personally.”
John Lawrus, Botanic Park General Manager
(CMR) Two ‘Chocolate Orchid' (Encyclia Phoenicia) have been stolen from the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park from the attraction's Orchid Boardwalk. The management and staff of the Cayman Islands Tourism Attraction Board have expressed their sadness at the discovery.
Botanic Park Horticultural Manager, Nick Johnson explained:
“They were just recovering from a theft of a cutting that happened last year. What is frustrating is that one part of the plant was sending up a flower. It is always sad to see our work destroyed. We have put in many hours and a lot of money into making the Orchid Boardwalk look the best it can. Unfortunately, we’ve already had several thefts this year,”
The TAB and the QEIIBP are asking for the thief to return the plants as soon as possible that they may be placed in their rightful home and cared for by trained experts. The Botanic Park offers propagation services and if anyone is interested in purchasing a specific plant housed within the Park property are asked to kindly email [email protected] for further information.
He added that anyone tempted to take cuttings or plants from a Botanic Garden should remember the time and effort put into these collections.
Encyclia phoenicia is called “Cuban chocolate orchid” because of its strong chocolate-scented blooms. This species can bloom from spring into fall. Variety ‘Stephen Bittel’ is characterized by intensely fragrant flowers and a bright magenta lip.
Encyclia is a genus of epiphytic orchids, segregated from Epidendrum, described by Hooker in 1828 establishing Encyclia viridiflora as the type species. Since that time, the number of species in this genus, Epidendrum and a number of other genera segregated from Epidendrum at various times has varied dramatically. In 1997, Higgins established the genus Prosthechea, moving many former Encyclia species in a further attempt to classify this group. Over time, there will likely be other changes as well.