The Villa Elisa Scientific Reserve is a protected area within the Monte Cristi National Park. It covers an area of 234,000 square meters 8 km north of Villa Elisa between Villa Elisa and Agua de la Palma. In 1976 the area was declared a scientific reserve in order to protect one of the rarest species of orchid in the Dominican Republic, the Bumble bee orchid (Oncidium henekenii), or “Cacatica” as it is known in the Dominican Republic.
The reserve is located within the Dominican Republic’s subtropical dry forest zone at an altitude of 120 meters. This is the optimal conditions for the orchid. The Orchid is typically only found in very dry subtropical forests in dry brush and cacti at elevations from sea level to 150 meters.
Three human activities have threatened the Bumble bee orchid, deforestation to produce charcoal, farm land and the illegal harvesting and selling of the flower.
The Bumble bee orchid is an imitator species of flower. It produces a ¾” flowers that look like an insect. It is believed that the flowers appear to look like female bees to the male bumble. Therefore. it constantly attracts male bumble bees and this is where it gets its name.
The Bumble bee orchid is an imitator species of flower. It produces a ¾” flowers that look like an insect. It is believed that the flowers appear to the male bumble bee as a female bee. It gets its name from the fact that it constantly attracts male bumble bees.
The flora of the Reserve also includes the existence of 138 species. 28 are endemic to the island of these species 104 are native and three are introduced and/or naturalized. This count doesn’t include the bumble bee orchid or six other orchid species.
The Villa Elisa Scientific Reserve is home to various bird species as well. These include the Kestrel, Turtledove, Common ground dove, Broad-billed tody, Buzzer, Canary, Parrot, Gray kingbird, American Kestrel (Hispaniolan), Night-Heron and the endangered crow.