The Inírida flower, known as flor de Inírida, grows in a small area along the Colombian-Venezuelan border. An indigenous leader and botanist successfully worked together to domesticate this rare and little-known flower. Its conservation helps ensure the long-term protection of other species while offering potential bioremediation against contaminated soil. Inírida’s commercialization plays a vital role in the region’s green economy, bringing in revenues for Indigenous families.

Carolina Mora Gaitan takes one of the flowers from the blue bucket lying at her feet and shakes off the excess water. Using a toothbrush, she scrubs away any trace of dirt and proceeds to peel away an unsightly brown leaf with a pair of tweezers. Sitting opposite, her daughter-in-law mirrors her actions.

Alongside them, Carolina’s husband and son clip, classify and box the fuchsia-colored flowers with meticulous precision. They have been involved in the Inírida flower trade in Colombia’s eastern Guainía department since it began more than a decade ago. The trade has changed significantly from its early days when the flower was freshly picked from the wild. Today, a successful process of domestication once considered impossible ensures its long-term preservation, while simultaneously contributing to conservation efforts in this unique region.