Archive for the 'In the News' Category

Vanilla Could Spice Up Florida Agriculture

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Now that vanilla beans cost as much as silver, the world’s most delicious orchid is in the news a lot, and scientists are investigating the possibilities of vanilla farms in South Florida. Since vanilla is a vine that climbs trees, it could be “co-cropped” in avocado, citrus, or nut orchards. Farmers could harvest the beans […]

Fighting the Vanilla Thieves of Madagascar

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Vanilla has been in the news a lot lately, with skyrocketing prices contributing to crime problems in Madagascar. The BBC delves into the story, and explains what happens when vanilla costs almost as much as silver.

Rare Australian Orchids Thrive Despite Harsh, Dry Winter

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Western Australia’s south coast is suffering through an exceptionally dry winter, but some rare native orchids are thriving anyway. Local orchid lovers are finding Queen of Sheba Orchids and other fascinating Australian natives despite the drought. With underground tubers to store water, these little terrestrials can handle some adversity. Orchid enthusiast Robert Tozer noted “Only about […]

Kilauea Eruption Downsizes Big Island Orchid Growers

Friday, July 13th, 2018

For many people, life has changed on Hawaii’s Big Island since Kilauea’s latest eruption began in May. Among the property damage, the Honolulu Star Advertiser highlights an orchid business which lost greenhouses and plants. Other growers in the area have also been affected. Besides the threat of flowing lava, volcanic gases can be dangerous for […]

The Illegal Orchid Trade And Its Implications for Conservation

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Illegal trade in wild orchids threatens many species with extinction. The first global study of the topic has been conducted by the IUCN Orchid Specialist Group’s Global Trade Programme. Orchids are being over-harvested from the wild for ornamental, medicinal, and food uses. Many are disappearing. In addition, endangered plants don’t receive as much attention as […]

Smithsonian Orchids Go Online

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Explore the spectacular Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection online. Thousands of stunning photos and botanical art pieces reveal this remarkable treasure trove, which includes rare and endangered species from around the world. Don’t miss a visit to the real thing if you’re in Washington DC, but if you can’t make it there, it’s now easy to visit […]

World’s Largest Glasshouse Reopens at Kew

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

The world’s largest glasshouse is open for business again!  Plant lovers can once again lose themselves in the newly refurbished Temperate Greenhouse at Kew Gardens in London. The 1863 building has been repaired many times, but this time it was thoroughly modernized. The Temperate Greenhouse dwarfs the nearby Palm House and Princess of Wales Conservatory. Thousands […]

Vanilla Fever in Madagascar

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian details the problems of soaring vanilla prices in Madagascar. Vanilla is the orchid that we all love to eat, and the cost of vanilla beans has been rising for years. Droughts and cyclones have contributed to increases. But what might be a boon for the economy also brings a lot […]

Fermilab Plants Rare Native Orchids

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

What do rare orchids and particle physics have in common? The folks at Fermilab are in the business of subatomic discoveries, but they’re also part of a project to restore native prairie. On their campus outside of Chicago, they’ve been bringing back native plants like the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid. This species is endangered throughout […]

Why the Conservation of Orchids Is No Simple Matter

Monday, March 12th, 2018

The Smithsonian illustrates why orchid conservation is tricky. Orchid seeds require a symbiotic fungus to grow, so saving seeds isn’t enough. Experts need to understand each orchid species’ relation to its essential fungi. “First you have to find the fungus,” says Smithsonian botanist Melissa McCormick, “then you have to figure out what it is, and […]