The Soroa Botanic and Orchid Garden, which is the only one of its kind in Cuba, occupies an area of 35,000 m2 and is dedicated primarily to the cultivation of orchids. The fresh and humid climate of this place fosters the development of these exotic plants. Located to the west of Havana inside the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve,it lies outside the town of Candelaria in the province of Artemisa.
Its construction was initiated in 1943 by Dr. Tomás Felipe Camacho, a lawyer from the Canary Islands and a member of the Sociedad Cubana de Orquídeas affiliate to American Orchid Society y a la Eastern Orchid Congress, who turned this fertile hill into a beautiful garden with in a period of nine years. He named the garden Rancho Pilila in honor of his youngest daughter, who had died at 21 years of age. Dr. Camacho died in 1961, and the garden was declared a National Heritage Site.
The live collections of orchids of the Soroa Botanic and Orchid Garden has about 400 species, varieties and hybrids, so natural as derived of the cross made by several Cuban and foreign specialists. Inside of this amount there are 130 species of Cuban orchids with a highest endemism representing the main ecosystems of our island. Our garden, appointed to the University of Artemisa and to the National Network of Botanic Gardens, count with the biggest collection of orchids.
The Soroa Botanic and Orchid Garden, manage by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente of Cuba, is also an experimentation and training center for forest specialists. In this center many detailed studies of each specimen are made. They objectives are accelerate the propagation and reintroduction of the orchids in their natural environment.
Management and maintenance
Actually the garden is manage and maintained by José Lázaro Bocourt, an illustrator scientist with studies on sociocultural and environment management. He, with a team of other persons has the big task of preserve the flora and fauna of this fertile land in the Sierra del Rosario. Bocourt have some books and scientific articles about of genres of Cuban orchids, about the reserve de la biosphere Sierra del Rosario and other biosphere as Ciénaga de Zapata.