Archive for the 'In the News' Category

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 […]

Dragon Discovery: The Dracula Smaug Orchid

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

RBG Kew reports on Dracula smaug, a newly discovered orchid. This orchid isn’t named after the vampire legend; “Dracula” means “little dragon” in Latin, and “Smaug” is the name of the fire-breathing dragon from JRR Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit. The species was discovered in cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, near the Colombian border. Even though […]

Edmond Albius: The Boy Who Revolutionized the Vanilla Industry

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

The modern vanilla industry owes its existence to a young enslaved African, Edmond Albius. Vanilla vines had been imported from Mexican jungles to the tiny French colony of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. But without their Mexican bee pollinators, nobody could figure out how to produce vanilla beans. In 1841, Edmond Albius, then […]

Vanilla Boom Is Making People Crazy Rich

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Vanilla prices have been so high that some Madagascan farmers are getting rich. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries. It’s also the world’s leading vanilla grower, producing about 80% of all vanilla beans. With the influx of cash from this valuable orchid crop, farmers are buying nicer homes, better farming equipment, and solar panels. […]

Deceptive New Zealand Orchids Pretend That They’re Mushrooms

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Radio New Zealand exposes a tale of botanical deceit. Corybas, also known as Spider Orchids, are strange little plants which inhabit the New Zealand forest floor. Humans can’t smell their mushroom-scented blooms, but fungus gnats can. They’re tricked into pollinating the flowers. To study how that works, orchid researcher Carlos Lehnebach converted his bathtub into an […]

How to Prepare Orchids for a Hurricane

Friday, August 30th, 2019

With Hurricane Dorian barrelling towards landfall, Motes Orchids in Florida offers helpful info about how to prepare orchids for a big storm. Their tips include: Keep orchids dry, then saturate them several hours before the storm. The water adds weight to the pots, which may keep them from blowing away. It also prepares plants in […]

60 Year Old Orchid’s One Week To Shine

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Head to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney this week to see a native Australian orchid in its full splendor. Dendrobium teretifolium is sometimes called the Rat’s Tail Orchid because of its long, skinny leaves. However, when it bursts into bloom, it earns another nickname, the Bridal Veil Orchid, with cascades of creamy white flowers. The […]

10 Rarest Orchids in the World

Friday, July 26th, 2019

Meet the 10 rarest orchids in the world. Many are Lady Slippers, but there are also others, like the strange Australian Western Underground Orchid. Habitat destruction and over-harvesting of wild plants have been big problems, and now climate change is a growing threat. Since there are almost 30,000 orchid species, and many are highly endangered, […]

Chasing Ghost Orchids

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

National Geographic reports on important discoveries about Florida’s famous Ghost Orchids. Scientists and photographers have found that they aren’t just pollinated by one species of moth, but by several different species. That’s good for the strange and fascinating leafless orchids, which are very endangered. After spending thousands of hours taking photos at the Corkscrew Swamp […]

Gardening Could Be the Hobby That Helps You Live to 100

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Want to live longer? Try gardening! Many of the world’s oldest living people are gardeners. In Earth’s “blue zones” where people live the longest, many of them garden into their 80’s and 90’s. Of course, fresh air and exercise are very beneficial, and homegrown fruits and vegetables can improve diets, too. Scientific studies have shown […]