Wildlife Officials Fight To Protect Rare Orchid

Tennessee officials are trying to save a rare, indigenous orchid species. The White Fringeless Orchid is hanging in the balance as government officials weigh its fate. Native to the Southeastern USA, this species is endangered by habitat loss and illegal poaching of wild plants. Its scientific name is Platanthera integrilabia, and it grows in wooded areas around streams, marshes, and bogs. The White Fringeless Orchid hasn’t been seen for years in South Carolina, where a sad spike in poaching has probably doomed it. Meanwhile, it has waited 40 years since the first request to classify it as an endangered species. It’s finally due for a decision in the next year, but will that already be too late? If it does receive federal protection, it may yet be possible to save this American native.

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