Saving Minnesota’s Rare Orchids Before It’s Too Late

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is working to conserve rare native orchids. The Arboretum is building a seed bank for all of the state’s 48 native species, including the official state flower, the Showy Lady’s Slipper. The effort is part of a larger conservation project, headed by the Smithsonian Institution, to preserve seeds from all of the USA’s native orchids. Since many of these orchids are rare, and their seeds are as small as dust, collecting them is a real challenge. “A lot of orchids are the first species to disappear from a landscape,” said plant expert David Remucal. “We could be losing a lot of these landscapes over the next 50 years, so we could be losing a lot of these orchid populations.”

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