Caves Branch (and especially Ella Anderson) takes pride in maintaining the plants and the botanical gardens. We have travelled far to collect orchids and other plants so that we can have a variety around the lodge for you to see. Most of our guests find it exciting to listen to the stories about the plants as they get a tour of the botanical gardens.
We have the largest collection of Orchids in Belize; these orchids vary in size, shape and color. We even have the national flower of Belize growing right on our grounds – the magnificent Black Orchid!
“The grounds are kept amazingly clean and are amazingly well taken care of. The botanical garden is a little piece of heaven on earth. (I have finally seen the national flower of Belize the Black Orchid in bloom).” TripAdvisor user
The black orchid grows on trees in damp areas, and it blooms nearly all year round. However, not many people have seen one in reality! When you are at Caves Branch, and you have a break from your adventures, you can ask for them to point out this exotic orchid and the tour guides or Ella will be happy to show you.
Here is some information about the botanical garden at Caves Branch:
The Caves Branch Botanical Gardens was created by Ella Anderson with love and dedication. She also created over 15 acres of botanical gardens which make up the grounds at Caves Branch. Everywhere you look, the flora is spectacular. The gardens were created with the purpose of introducing our guests to the fascinating world of Belizean flora and fauna. You will not find well-manicured gardens, but rather an exciting world of animal and insect friendly gardens. Frogs and lizards, hummingbirds and butterflies freely pass through our under-roof orchid and bromeliad gardens that sit alongside the Caves Branch river and centered on our 15 acre site.
Our gardens offer you an incredible selection of tropical plants that will shock you by their flamboyant colors (17 different species of hibiscus), as well as plants that will surprise the visitors by its' subtle ingenuity in adapting itself to the rainforest environment (sensitive plants, dropping its branches upon the lightest touch). Our gardens will introduce you to the variety of plants that you can find in Belize and make your travel through the rest of the country much more enjoyable as you will start noticing plants around you and have a better understanding of our nature.
Visitors will have a chance to smell the lemon grass and all-spice leaves, see the coffee, cacao, papaya and pineapple growing at various times of the year along the sides of the walkways through the gardens.
You will have a chance to see a wide variety of orchids local to Central America from the abundantly flowering National Flower of Belize, The Black Orchid, to the local miniature and micro orchids, some of which have flowers not bigger than 2mm in diameter (0.078 inches) and even such famous orchids, as Vanilla orchid, the source of world famous vanilla spice.
We have approximately 90 different species of orchids and 50 different species of bromeliads (air plants), with literally thousands of actual orchids and bromeliad plants anchoring themselves on the trees and rocky gardens around Caves Branch. Some of the orchids will surprise you by their astonishing shape, colour, texture and incredible perfume that will vary depending on the time of the day or night. Some of our orchids are so delicate that you need to have a magnifying glass to see them. Others are captivating because of the variety of the pollinators that will be visiting them. You will be surprised to witness how these flowers manipulate, connive, court, seduce and deceive insects into pollinating them.
Many of the plants and orchids in our botanical gardens are well labeled, so you can enjoy the self-guided tour and find scientific identifications, local names, as well as the traditional uses of plants. You can start your tour from our biggest orchid, The "Shower of Gold" orchid, which is located across from the swimming pool area. In March 2011, that particular orchid produced 4,576 individual flowers.
If you would like a guided tour while staying at Caves Branch, you can book it with the front desk and we will help you to enjoy the adventure of orchids. For visitors not staying at Caves Branch, we welcome you to our Botanical Gardens.