The Guaria Morada (Guarianthe skinneri) is the national flower of Costa Rica. It is a species of epiphytic orchid native to Central America. The declaration as national flower was made by decree No. 24 of June 15, 1939.


Of a vivid purple color, the Guaria Morada has large flowers and wide petals, it has a leaf that comes out of the apex of the pseudo bulb. It is 50 cm high.

The abundant flowering extends between February and March.

It lives in the pacific zone of the country, and in the pre-mountainous zones from 500 to 1000 meters. It is epiphyte of certain trees of temperate land.

Overexploitation has caused the Guaria Morada to disappear from several areas of the country. In their natural habitat, they can only be seen nowadays in private farms in Acosta, Miramar, Miravalles or Nicoya. It can also be seen in gardens where orchids are grown as in the Lankester Garden in Cartago.

Guaria Morada

National Flower

Because of its great popularity and beauty, this flower was chosen as the national symbol when the vote was held in 1937.

It was decreed on June 15, 1939 as a national flower under the administration of Leon Cortes. Subsequently, by means of the executive agreement No. 24 of November 1972, when José Figueres Ferrer was president, the second week of March was declared as the Costa Rican Orchid week”. Indeed, it is the time when the purple guaria is at the peak of its flowering. At the same time, the Costa Rican Orchid Association is entrusted to organize the celebrations every year.

Author: M. Barrantes for Sensorial Sunsets