• Daniel Tills in London

You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours! Symbiosis In Costa Rica

The tiny Central American country of Costa Rica is famous for its biodiversity. Despite its diminutive proportions (accounting for just 0.03% of the earth's surface) it boasts an impressive 5% of the world's species - including around 900 different birds and more than 250 species of mammal. You could say that it is 'punching far above its weight', but that sounds rather aggressive!


You see, compared to its neighbours, Costa Rica is also known as a peaceful, stable, harmonious place and has no army. This human equilibrium and enviable level of co-operation is perhaps a reflection of the symbiosis found in the natural world of the local animals, plants, birds and sea life.

Painting of Costa Rican orchids being pollinated by hummingbirds and insects
Detail 1/3 - Orchids of Costa Rica by Deirdre Hyde

A perfect example of the mutually beneficial biological interactions between different species can be illustrated with Costa Rica's huge variety of orchids and their pollinators.

Painting of orchids found in Costa Rica and their insect pollinators
Detail 3/3 - Orchids of Costa Rica by Deirdre Hyde

Birds, bees and other insects receive their life-sustaining nutrition by feeding on the nectar of the beautiful flowers, and in return the plants are pollinated by these visitors who unwittingly carry the pollen from flower to flower.

Painting of a biodiverse Costa Rican rainforest with orchids, frogs, bees and butterflies
Detail 2/3 - Orchids of Costa Rica by Deirdre Hyde

In celebration of this perfect picture of peaceful pollination, Deirdre Hyde has created a magnificent painting depicting a forest scene abundant with flowering orchids being busily tended to by a variety of hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, frogs and bugs. The entire image is made up of 12 square canvasses (a polyptych or dodecaptych if you will!) each measuring 30 x 30cm, which fit seamlessly together supported by a wooden frame. The overall dimensions are 180 x 60cm / 71 x 24".

This unique, original painting is currently available to purchase here.

Prints of this painting will soon become available - please reserve yours here.

Painting of a Costa Rican forest teeming with wildlife and various orchid species
Orchids of Costa Rica - by Deirdre Hyde - original painting

A major exhibition of Costa Rican orchids, featuring art backdrops by Deirdre Hyde, will open in the Princess of Wales Conservatory at the Royal Botanical Gardens, at Kew in London in 2022 (postponed from 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic).


The Details


32 individual species have found their way into this lush landscape piece, creating an eye-catching and attractive panorama with an informative, educational aspect for those who wish to find deeper layers in their artworks. The artwork was created with the scientific help of Adam Karremans of Lankester Botanical Gardens, which is a world-renowned research centre for orchids in the Cartago province of Costa Rica

Key to the species included in the Orchids & Pollinators painting by Deirdre Hyde
Key to the species in the Orchid Pollinators in Costa Rica painting by Deirdre Hyde
  1. Arpophyllum giganteum / 'Giant Orchid'

  2. Amazilia tzacatl / 'Rufous-tailed Hummingbird' (colibrí / hummingbird)

  3. Brassia arcuigera / 'Arching Brassia' (orquídea /orchid)

  4. Pepsis atalanta / Tarantula Hawk Wasp (Avispa Cazadora de Arañas)

  5. Pleurothallis homalantha / 'Flat Smooth Flowered Orchid'

  6. Lankestriana barbulata / 'Small Beard Orchid'

  7. Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni (Rana de Vidrio / Glass Frog)

  8. Dracula erythrochaete / 'Red Tufted Dracula Orchid'

  9. Lepanthes sp. (orquídea / orchid)

  10. Gongora (orquídea / orchid) Euglossa sp. (abeja / bee)

  11. Epidendrum flexuosum (orquídea / orchid)

  12. Jardín de hormigas / Ant garden

  13. Epidendrum baumannianum / 'Baumann's Orchid'

  14. Elleanthus cynarocephalus / 'Capitate Orchid'

  15. Calliphlox bryantae / 'Magenta-throated Woodstar' (colibrí / humingbird)

  16. Amazilia tzacatl / 'Rufous-tailed Hummingbird' (colibrí / hummingbird)

  17. Lycaste bradeorum (orquídea / orchid) with Euglossa sp. (abeja / bee)

  18. Phragmipedium longifolium / 'Long-leaf Orchid'

  19. Pleurothallis homalantha (orquídea / orchid)

  20. Trichosalpinx orbicularis / 'Orb Orchid'

  21. Specklinia remotiflora / 'Painted Orchid'

  22. Platystele oxyglossa / 'Pointed Lip orchid'

  23. Lankesteriana cuspidata / 'Large-leaf Orchid'

  24. Platystele tica / 'Costa Rican Orchid'

  25. Euglossa sp. / 'Green Orchid Bee' (abeja)

  26. Heliconius hecale / 'Tiger Longwing Butterfly' (mariposa)

  27. Trichosalpinx blaisdellii / 'Bonnet Orchid'

  28. Lankestriana barbulata (orquídea / orchid)

  29. Heliconius hecale 'Tiger Longwing Butterfly' (mariposa)

  30. Epidendrum piliferum / 'Prolific Orchid'

  31. Coryanthes kaiseriana / 'Kaiser's Orhid' (orquídea)

  32. Lampornis caolaemus / 'Purple-throated Mountaingem' (colibri / hummingbird)

Please note: some recently discovered species do not yet have common names

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