Archive for December, 2020

The Ugliest Orchid in the World

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the discovery of the ugliest orchid in the world has been big news. The newly identified Madagascan Gastrodia agnicellus has small, brown blooms that look like little pieces of rotting fruit. Like other members of the Gastrodia genus, this species is leafless, and takes its energy […]

Another Pandemic Solstice

Monday, December 21st, 2020

This year’s winter solstice arrives with darkness, cold, and a raging pandemic. I’m certainly ready to be rid of all three. The days will start lengthening tomorrow; if only there were such definite dates for the pandemic. Fortunately, vaccinations are starting. However many months we need to wait for ours, we will gladly get them […]

Saving Orchids Could Help Keep the Peace in Colombia

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

The orchid-laden nation of Colombia has suffered a violent past. Colombian scientist Tatiana Arias hopes to use the country’s orchids to help keep the peace. In the last few years, a fragile peace treaty has ended six decades of violence between drug cartels and the government. Now, many rural areas need a reliable source of […]

Secret Garden: Unearthing the Mysteries of Orchids

Friday, December 11th, 2020

The Nature Conservancy is working with groups like the North American Orchid Conservation Center to better understand and save endangered orchids. They’re studying orchids, their natural environments, their pollinators, their fungal partners, and the threats they face. With over 25,000 orchid species around the world, it’s a formidable task. In fact, there are more orchid […]

The Cultural and Ecological Implications of the Salep Orchid Trade

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

In Defense of Plants’ podcast explores the salep orchid trade. I’ve blogged before about salep, a traditional drink or dessert made with orchid tubers. It’s popular in Turkey, Greece, around the eastern Mediterranean, and other parts of the Middle East. Orchid tubers are made into flour, which is then turned into hot drinks, cold drinks, […]