Costa Rica’s national flower, the guaria morada (Guarianthe skinneri), is an exquisite orchid known for its purple hues and diamond-like shimmer. The plant, which blooms from January through April, was designated as Costa Rica's national flower on June 15, 1939.
The guaria morada is most concentrated along the Pacific coast and in pre-montane zones between 1,600 and 3,300 feet above sea level. Due to heavy collection in the past, the flower may be hard to spot in the wild, where it grows on tree branches. Guaria morada are a type of epiphyte; the purple air plant merely uses trees as support. The national flower is still popular as an ornamental plant and local nurseries always have them on offer.
The guaria morada has long been an important feature in Costa Rican homes. Many families are proud to grow the beautiful species in their yards, and yearly orchid shows always overflow with perfect specimens. The guaria morada is sometimes associated with the beauty of the Costa Rican people, and the purple bloom also represents the abundance, fragility and elegance of nature.
According to local Costa Rican tradition, the guaria morada brings fortune and good luck. It evokes peace and love as well as hope for the future. Its flower is said to have only a mild fragrance because it is filled with dreams to be fulfilled.