Discovering native Vanilla in Madre de Dios rainforest

By: Daniela Scaccabarozzi

This project aims to find strategies to protect and conserve exclusive species of native Vanilla in the Amazon forest of Peru, investigating the strategy of pollination and reproductive mechanisms that drive the spread of the species.

The activities are address to a potential use of native species for cultivation by local farmers, according to an agro ecological vision which preserves the integrity of the primary forest and favouring the natural pollination process by insects.


The project was conducted by Daniela Scaccabarozzi with the team of professionals of ARBIO Peru. We thank Nando Peretti Foundation for having supported our project on Pollination and spread of native Vanilla of Peru. We also thank you our partner Earth for the development of pollination activities.

The project focused on Vanilla pompona in Madre de Dios Basin.

We found many populations along the river of Madre de Dios, some of them potentially connected, despite the high level of habitat fragmentation. For this purpose, we have identified some strategies that may favour the natural spread of Vanilla.


Eulaema bees were observed acting as pollinator for Vanilla pompona, so one of the key strategies is to focus on the pollinators, messengers of life for native Vanilla. We revealed a little bit about their ecology, behaviour and preferred food plants, as this was essential to understand their occurrence and activity.

Vanilla is well known and is a common precious spice.

Vanilla pompona has a great potential to be cultivated in the Peruvian Amazon basin as it grows naturally. Have you ever tasted a Vanilla ice-cream?

We found that the spread of Vanilla in its natural habitat, the primary forest, can be achieved, adopting few ecological strategies.

Last but not least, we thank all the farmers, local researchers, and organizations like Camino Verde and Kapievi that supported our project.

If you wish to be updated on the strategies to adopt for spreading Vanilla, we invite you to watch the videos.

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