Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

New Guinea’s Plants Are ‘Majestic, Stunning, Intriguing and Bizarre’

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

As the world’s largest tropical island, New Guinea has over 13,000 plant species, more than even Madagascar or Borneo. With varied habitats, like coastal jungles, tropical rainforests, high cloud forests, and alpine grasslands, there’s incredible biodiversity. Two-thirds of the island’s species are found nowhere else. Using their botanical riches, ancient New Guineans domesticated two of […]

Fallen Flowers: Restoring Wild Orchids in India’s Western Ghats

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Orchid conservation takes many forms. In the Western Ghats, tropical mountain forests hold almost a third of India’s flora and fauna species. That includes hundreds of native orchid varieties, like Dendrobiums, Bulbophyllums, Habenarias, and Aerides. As deforestation threatens these species, Indian conservationists have enlisted local students to rescue orchids. Within the region’s tea, coffee, and […]

Taiwan’s Conservationists Trying to Save Its Orchid Species

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

Taiwan is trying to save its native Moth Orchids. The tropical island nation has two Moth Orchid species, Phalaenopsis aphrodite, with white flowers, and Phalaenopsis equestris, with pink or red flowers. Taiwan also has one of the biggest orchid industries in the world. The mass-grown hybrids which begin life in Taiwanese greenhouses are sold around […]

Scientists Warn That Traders and Traffickers Are Winning the Orchid Battle

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

Orchids sell by the billions, and 99% of known sales are legal. They’re usually human-made hybrids, not wild plants. But there’s also a vast illegal trade in wild orchids. The buyers include unscrupulous orchid collectors whose demand can cause extinctions. Newly discovered species can be quickly stripped from the wild. Scientists often find new varieties […]

Orchid Species, Lost and Found

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Orchids come and go. Scientists frequently find new orchids, and also raise warnings about orchid extinctions. Recent finds include two new Aerides from the Philippines, and a natural Laelia hybrid from Oaxaca, Mexico (article in Spanish.) In the Philippines, Aerides turma and Aerides turma forma anniversarius are two more orchid species to add to that […]

Angraecums, the Shining Stars of the Orchid World

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

Sparkling white flowers make Angraecums look like shining stars. This fascinating genus is native to Madagascar, tropical Africa, and islands in the Indian Ocean. They are sometimes called Comet Orchids, because thin nectar tubes hanging from the backs of their flowers inspire thoughts of comet tails. The most famous is Darwin’s Orchid, Angraecum sesquipedale. It’s […]

Australian Scientists Finally Unlock Queen of Sheba Orchid’s Secret

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

In Australia, a country full of extraordinary plants, the Queen of Sheba Orchids stand out. Their brilliant displays of purples, pinks, and gold make them Australian orchid royalty, and their admirers refer to them simply as “Queens.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports that this rare and endangered native of Western Australia may be making a […]

Samurai Orchids Fight to Survive in the Wild

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

In Japan, BotanyBoy describes the plight of the Samurai Orchid. Cultivated for centuries, they’re now endangered in the wild. Populations have shrunk as native habitats have been destroyed or altered by humans. Old growth forests only remain in small, disjointed pockets. They include areas around temples, shrines, rivers, and the very tops of mountain ridges. […]

The Power of Local Orchid Conservation

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

The Pink Lady Slipper, or Cypripedium acaule, used to grow wild in the Philadelphia area, but now is uncommon. It’s one of the most enchanting and elegant orchids native to the Eastern USA and Canada. When local plants were discovered last June, experts from nearby Longwood Gardens jumped into action. They hand-pollinated the flowers, and […]

Paul Sterry Finds Rare, Fragile Ghost Orchids

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

Photographer and conservationist Paul Sterry saw a Ghost Orchid in 1986. Thirty-three years later, in 2019, he found another. His remarkable photos reveal a flower that very few people see in real life: the Ghost Orchid, or Epipogium aphyllum. (Even though it shares a common name, it’s different than the famous Florida Ghost Orchid in […]