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Flowers of Machu Picchu

During our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu we encountered some of the most beautiful flora we have seen during all our travels in South America. Many of the flowers are orchids, since Peru has thousands of species of them.

Plants and Flowers of Machu Picchu

I did my best to look up all the flora from Peru in Google Images, but many times I just couldn’t find the name, and on a few occasions, I couldn’t even find a similar picture. So if you have some flower friends or better Google skills, have at it! Enjoy the plant and flower pictures from Peru.

Best viewed by clicking on an individual photo and advancing with the right arrow key on your keyboard.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Lupinus mutabilis is a species of lupin grown in the Andes for its edible bean. Vernacular names include tarwi, tarhui, chocho, altramuz, Andean lupin, South American lupin, or pearl lupin.

View photos from our Salkantay Hike to Machu Picchu.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Lupinus mutabilis is a species of lupin grown in the Andes for its edible bean. Vernacular names include tarwi, tarhui, chocho, altramuz, Andean lupin, South American lupin, or pearl lupin.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Slipperwort (Calceolaria)

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Slipperwort (Calceolaria)

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Slipperwort (Calceolaria)

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Is this a Daisy?

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Need help naming this one.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants of Machu Picchu - Bromeliad Genus called Puya

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flora surrounding Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Loasa Grandiflora (Nasa Grandiflora)

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Need help naming this one.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Oncidium is a genus that contains about 330 species of orchids from the subtribe Oncidiinae of the orchid family. Often called Dancing Ladies Orchid

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Oncidium is a genus that contains about 330 species of orchids from the subtribe Oncidiinae of the orchid family. Often called Dancing Ladies Orchid

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Need help naming this one.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Need help naming this one.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Looks like a type of succulent to me.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Epiphytes - plants that grow on another in a non-parasitic relationship and gets its nutrients from water, dust particles, and the air.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Zantedeschia aethiopica (common names Lily of the Nile, Calla lily, Easter lily, and Arum lily)

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Easter Lily with a Bumblebee inside.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Another Easter lily, but with a very colorful bug in it.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Type of Canna Plant

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Type of Canna Plant

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - A group of yellow flowers

Flowers of Machu Picchu

The pteridophytes are vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that produce neither flowers nor seeds, and are hence called vascular cryptogams. Instead, they reproduce and disperse only via spores. Pteridophytes include horsetails, ferns, and club mosses.

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Strap Ferns, perhaps Campyloneurum phyllitidis, also known as Long Strap Fern

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants of Machu Picchu - A Fern

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Daisy like flowers

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Daisy like flowers with Butterfly

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants and a Waterfall on railroad near Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants and a Waterfall on railroad near Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants and a Waterfall on railroad near Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Couldn't name these

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu - Railroad to Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants of Machu Picchu - Types of plants and trees surrounding a house below Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants of Machu Picchu - Types of plants and trees below Machu Picchu

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants around a small Waterfall

Flowers of Machu Picchu

Plants around a small Waterfall

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Ben of Florida says:

Photos 14 & 15 may be Monnina conectisepala in the Polygalaceae family. I found it this evening at http://www.pbase.com/alsadventures/image/116047700 at the pbase photo site

Photo 7 looks like Demosthenesia spectabilis in the Ericaceae family. I found it this evening at http://www.pbase.com/alsadventures/image/116023107, the same pbase website.

Photo 11 appears very similar to Barnadesia spinosa in the Compositae family and which is known in the northern Andes, including Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. I found it this evening at http://compgenomics.ucdavis.edu/compositae_data.php?name=Barnadesia+spinosa this evening. Notice the serrate edges of the flower petals. There seem to be more petals but that may be an illusion caused by mechanical splitting of some of the petals in the found photo. The color is very similar given there appears to be more sun exposure on the website flower, compared to the photo on your website which looks like it was facing away from sunlight.

I just discovered I misnumbered the photos I printed out from your site. My prior reference to 31 as Hedychium coronaria is actually 35 in your sequence. It was the one right after the photo with the rundown shack and just before the next to last photo showing the stream rapids and rose-pink flowers along the stream bank.

I will continue to look for your Photos 6, 27, 28 & 32 as I have time. The others are not detailed enough for me to tell or search.

Ben of Florida says:

Correction: The strap fern species Campyloneurum phyllitidis I previously mentioned is in fact listed as a species on the Peru Fern List at http://www.inkaterra.com/pdf/ferns_list_mpph.pdf. So the fern is possibly one or the other.

You can also find photo sheets of butterflies of Peru at http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/JV-PERU/JVButts01.shtml and 5 succeeding plates. I have been unable to find the butterfly on the yellow flowers shown in Photo 28 (or the flowers either). However, I am sure that the butterfly is in the Genus: Heliconius, because of its shape.

Ben of Florida says:

If anyone goes to http://www.inkaterra.com/en/nature/nature-lists/machu-picchu you will find printable color charts of birds of Machu Picchu, as well as bird, fern and orchid name lists. Ditto for the Amazon areas of Peru at http://www.inkaterra.com/en/nature/nature-lists/reserva-amazonica. I recommend looking at the entire http://www.inkaterra.com/en website.

Ben of Florida says:

I just found a fern list for Peru at http://www.inkaterra.com/pdf/ferns_list_mpph.pdf (no photos, just names). It shows Niphidium crassifolium, but not the other species I previously suggested. It also shows the name Niphidium anocarpoa (which is a mispelling of “anocarpos” ). I could Google the name, but found no photos of live specimens of N. anocarpos showing leaves.

Ben of Florida says:

Photos 24 & 25 may also be Niphidium crassifolium. I just found a photo at http://fm2.fieldmuseum.org/plantguides/guide_pdfs/098%20Machu%20P-conspic%20v4.pdf (Field Museum-Chicago; their Photo 40 on p. 2) that is very similar to your photos, especially as to the “V” arrangement of the sori on the back of the leaf. However the species I previously mentioned also has sori arranged in “V” patterns like your close-up photo. In any event, it is a “strap” fern. The Field Museum photos cited are captioned “Conspicuous Plants of Machu Picchu,” and make a great reference to copy and take with you to Machu Picchu to identify plants and flowers of the region

That would have been a great resource to have had during our hike.

Ben of Florida says:

Photos 12 & 13 are of orchids named Odontoglossum mystacinum, or Dancer of the Andes. This flower (but with a mispelling of the genus name) appears on p. 195 of the book “Machu Picchu: Song of Stone.” You can Google pictures of it using the above correctly-spelled scientific name. Photos 12 & 13 would not be Oncidiums, though they may be closely related as I just read that Oncidiums and Odontoglossums are often crossed to create hybrids. I initially agreed with the Oncidium identification because I own a few specimens of an Oncidiuim flexuosum “Spanish Dancing Lady” orchid with similar appearance.

Ben of Florida says:

Photo 10 may be Loasa grandiflora. I just found it in two sources. One is the recently issued coffee table book, “Machu Picchu: Song of Stone” (page 175; the first orange flower photo). It is a nettle with stinging hairs. I also found it at http://photos.v-d-brink.eu/Flora-and-Fauna/South-America/Peru-Northern-part/11141926_ZrRF7t/780875148_tfYbc#!i=780875148&k=tfYbc showing flower photos by Marijn van den Brink (both a close-up, an unopened group of flowers, and one of multiple widely spaced flowers in habitat). The above scientific name may be a synonym for Nasa grandiflora.

I would say that is an exact match.

Ben in Florida says:

Photo 8 is in all probability a ground-growing (or cliffside-growing) bromeliad genus called Puya, but an unidentified species at this size; in time it will put up a terminal (life-ending) inflorescence full of flowers, and eventually seeds; you can see the pictured plant variously on the cliff-face east across the Urubamba viewed from the town of Aguas Calientes, or when eating at one of the restaurants along the west side of the river bank, or when walking along the street by the PeruRail tracks in town; I have seen clumps of flowering Puyas atop Machu Picchu among the ruins, with 2-3 foot tall inflorescences of pinkish-rose-colored flowers, but it can’t be Puya raimondii which is substantially larger with an inflorence that is incredibly tall; P. raimondii is a giant bromeliad that grows high in the Andes but apparently also around the Machu Picchu area

This plant wasn’t too big, maybe 18″ wide in total.

Ben in Florida says:

Photos 24-25 appear to be strap ferns, perhaps Campyloneurum phyllitidis, also known as long strap fern; according to Wikipedia, it grows from Mexico, down through Central America to Peru, as well as into eastern South America, the West Indies, through the Caribbean & Florida; it is an epiphyte and loves to grow in swampy areas with standing water, where it attaches to tree stumps, branches and other above-water substrates

Ben in Florida says:

Photo 31 looks very reminiscent of Hedychium coronaria, an Asian ginger plant in the Zingiberaceae family (also includes American & Caribbean heliconias, costus, alpinia, etc.) that has escaped all over Central & South America as an unwanted weed; here the plants do not show flowers, which would be white, at the top of the stalks; you can see a picture of H. coronaria in Alfred Graf’s “Tropica,” (1981), p. 927 (you can also Google it)

Ben in Florida says:

Pictures 21 & 22, just after the calla lilies (18-20), are some form of Canna plant, as evidenced by the seed pods in #21 (plant on the left); there is a Peruvian species, Canna iridiflora (it also grows in Costa Rica & Colombia); however, according to Wikipedia, its flower stalks hang down and the photos show upright stalks; as Canna is widely grown everywhere in the tropics as an exotic plant, this might be one escaped from cultivation; your photos do show Cannas with very narrow bracts or petals; most exotics (including hybrids) have very showy wide-petaled flowers; without the lower leaves being depicted in the pictures, it is difficult to be more specific

Ben in Florida says:

Pictures 2, 3 & 4 very much resemble Calceolaria pavonii attributed to Rio Urubamba as depicted on p. 884 of Alfred Graf’s “Tropica.” (1981); I understand the similarity of appearance to slipper orchids, but I do not think they are orchids (I do not think orchids grow clumped on stems like that, and I do not think orchid leaves are that color or look like that; I believe this is slipperwort as identified at http://eberhard-und-pirkko-hegewald.de/AguasCaliente_Main.html#Ag150; Calceolaria is in the Scrophulariaceae or figwort family (and no, I am not a botanist, just a plant nut with a library and Google as my friend)

Thanks Ben for the great information. We really appreciate it! I don’t know much about flowers, but I do enjoy looking at them.

César says:

Cantuta or Cantua buxifolia is very different. I would say your red flowers are some kind of tropical blueberries, in the heather family. Very nice photos!!

Thanks so much César for lending your knowledge and visiting our site.

Dave and Deb says:

What a great idea to show the Flora of Machu Picchu, we’ve all seen the ruins over and over again and I like your take on showing something different in the region.

Jason says:

Thanks guys. I got a little obsessed with taking pictures of all the flowers, so I figured why not put a photo essay together. I appreciate the comments.

jaredvork says:

The thin red flowers (seventh photo down) are Cantuta (often spelled Kantuta or Qantuta, from Quechua qantu). It is the national flower of Peru. They seem to grow all over Peru. I saw them in great numbers at Machu Picchu and on Isla Taquile.

Jason says:

Excellent. I thought that is what they were, but the national flowers seemed so much bigger than these tiny ones. Thanks for contributing.

Raymond says:

These are all excellent shots!

Jason says:

Thanks Raymond, when I took them, I never really thought they would amount to much. But, as one photo essay, they aren’t so bad anymore.

Diana says:

Very pretty photos!

Pete Heck says:

Wow, such an vast amount of different flora. One day I’ll do this hike and see myself. Beautiful shots guys!

Jason says:

Thanks Pete. It was a tough trek, but an incredible one filled with an incredible varying landscape. From snow capped mountains down into the jungle, it was amazing.

Sherry says:

Your photos are beautiful – so vivid and colorful. I’m so glad you shared them with all of us. I’ve seen so many photos of MP and even the surrounding areas, yet none of these took the opportunity to photograph this part of its wildlife. I especially love the orchid shots; not sure why I didn’t think they grew in these parts.

Jason says:

Thanks for commenting Sherry. Yes, orchids are very popular in Peru, so many different variations.

Heidi says:

What gorgeous creatures these are. I have absolutely no idea about the names, but I do know that they are all beautiful! ;)

Heidi

Dorian says:

“pteridophytes”.. wow.. I have never seen anything like that…

Jason says:

Most ferns are pteridophytes, so I am sure you have seen them, just didn’t know it.

Andrea says:

I was impressed by how many orchids we saw along the Inca Trail – the yellow boxing glove ones are awesome!

In a word: gorgeous! Especially like your fern pics — so unusual.

Jason says:

Thanks Cathy, I appreciate you commenting. There was just so much different flora in the jungle leading to Machu Picchu, we couldn’t stop snapping pics.

Samuel says:

Jason, it’s great you had time to capture detailed shots of flowers while visiting MP. It makes me think – without knowing – that you spent at least 2 days or more exploring the area. I’ve always told others who are going to MP to spend as many days as possible to take it in properly.

Jason says:

I should clarify, these are pics of flowers around Machu Picchu and the surrounding Jungle during our hike via the Salkantay Trek.

Lori says:

I’m so glad you took all of these nature shots. It’s a side of Machu Picchu you don’t usually see.

Jason says:

Honestly, I didn’t know them off the top of my head. I have to protect my manhood with that statement. I did too much searching on Google. I looked up Freesia and you might be right. That picture isn’t that good. I was taking some of them with my video camera which is extremely hard to do. It’s terrible with pictures.

For some reason my captions always get chopped off. I added the full caption on the fern with the seeds. They actually aren’t seeds, they are spores. At one time ferns had seeds, but they are all extinct now. Who knew? They look like seeds to me.

In the orange flower picture if definitely looks like there is a vine there. Thanks for contributing!

I love flowers. What’s great is that you know the name of so many of them. The 6th one up looks like a type of freesia to me. But the pods resemble a poppy. It’s definitely not a poppy but maybe a type of freesia?? not sure. The black dots on the fern are seeds. The orange star shaped flower reminds me of a passion vine but i know it’s not one. Is it a vine? maybe something related to the passion vine.

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