For visiting flower enthusiasts Malawi is one place you will have a memorable time. Malawi has a great diversity of indigenous wild flowers, due to the wide range of habitats from high mountains and plateaus to tropical evergreen forest and low-altitude woodlands. With such range of habitats in such a small area means many species can be seen in a relatively short period of time. Malawi also stands at a .biological crossroads with species common to the Central, Southern and East African regions.

Malawi is particularly famous for its orchids and, despite its small size, contains one of the largest numbers of orchid species of any African country. The current figure is over 400; this includes over 280 terrestrial species, divided into about 30 genera,and over 120 epiphytic species. Botanists believe that several more hidden specials are yet to be discovered. The majority of terrestrial orchids flower in the rainy season, from November to early April, with a few species (mostly Eulophia) starting at the end of

the dry season around October. The best viewing time is between January and February.

Some of the best spots for flowers include the Nyika National Park, where montane grassland areas support many terrestrial orchid species and the patches of evergreen forest support epiphytes. Proteas and aloes are found on the lower slopes. Other highland areas include the Zomba Plateau and Mount Mulanje, where terrestrial and epiphyte orchids occur, as do proteas, aloes, stags horn lily and various tree ferns, plus helichrysums (the dried effect of which gives them the name everlastings). Kasungu National Park is also a good area; the miombo woodland is rich in tree species and the grassy dambos support orchids, gladioli, lilies and everlastings. Other forest areas supporting orchids include Dzalanyama, Dedza and Viphya. In miombo woodland areas, such as Liwonde and Majete, aloes also occur, plus the Sabi star.


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