Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

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 […]

A Brief History of China’s Wild Cymbidium Trade

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

The IUCN Orchid Specialist Group reports on the history, cultural importance, and trade of China’s Cymbidiums. Recent studies focus on Sichuan Province in southwest China, one of the world’s botanical hotspots. It’s home to many orchids, including Cymbidiums. They’ve been important in Chinese culture for thousands of years, and ornamental varieties have been cultivated for […]

Dogs Are an Orchid’s Best Friend

Friday, February 21st, 2020

In the vast orchid family full of weird plants, Rhizanthellas stand out as among the weirdest. These Australian natives live their whole lives underground, and feed off fungi rather than photosynthesize. Their flowers occasionally break the surface, but usually out of sight in the dirt or leaf litter, so they’re really hard to find. But […]

Missoula’s ‘Best Kept Secret’ Helps Conserve Endangered Orchids

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Most people don’t think of orchids when they think of Montana, but Missoula’s Botanica, Ltd. is a great place for orchids. Brenda Oviatt and Bill Nerison have turned their hobby into a business which is devoted to growing endangered species. They specialize in the African Angraecoid family, which includes threatened varieties like Darwin’s Orchid, Angraecum […]

Rescuing a Delicious Australian Orchid

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on saving the Sunshine Diuris, a rare and delicious Australian orchid species. Diuris fragrantissima is also known as Snow in the Paddocks. Once common in grasslands around Melbourne, this species’ tubers were a favorite food source for Aboriginal peoples. It was so plentiful that European settlers picked its flowers by […]

Orchids at the Center of Cloud Forest Conservation in Ecuador

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Tune in to In Defense of Plants for an orchid conservation success story. Lou Jost has worked to protect cloud forests in orchid-rich Ecuador for decades, and has helped to create seven nature reserves. The reserves are essential habitats for many endangered plants and animals, including fascinating pleurothallid orchids, like Masdevallias, Draculas, and Stelis. If […]