Archive for the 'In the News' Category

Pollinating Orchids by Foot

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Among many peculiar pollination strategies in the orchid family, some South African species really stand out. The small blooms of Disa chrysostachya offer nectar to entice Malachite Sunbirds to perch on their flower spikes and take a drink. But instead of attaching to their beaks as they feed, the pollen sticks to their claws. Then […]

The Science of Orchids

Saturday, March 13th, 2021

The science of orchids is marching forwards. Taipei Times reports on cutting edge genetic discoveries that will change orchid commerce. Researchers in Taiwan, which has a large orchid industry, have identified genes to control flower color, and to prolong the life of blooms. In time, they will be able to create varieties with new colors, […]

‘Like Finding Life on Mars’: Why the Underground Orchid is Australia’s Strangest, Most Mysterious Flower

Friday, February 19th, 2021

If we find life on Mars, will it be as strange as Australia’s Underground Orchids? These bizarre plants, also known as Rhizanthellas, live their whole lives below ground. They even bloom underground, and smell like vanilla. Known to science since 1928, there are now five identified species around the continent. All five are endangered, and […]

Villagers and Forest Officials Breathe New Life into India’s Only Orchid Sanctuary

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

In the Himalayan foothills of northeastern India, the country’s only orchid sanctuary has had a facelift. Founded in 1989, Sessa Orchid Sanctuary covers 39 square miles (100 square km) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, a biodiversity hotspot which is known as the “Orchid State of India.” Sessa villagers and government forest officials have installed a […]

Three Online Orchid Sales

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Orchid lovers in the San Francisco Bay Area can take advantage of two local online sales. In addition, Hengduan Biotech in China is having an online sale that will ship most anywhere in the world. Ongoing until January 29 The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley is renovating its Tropical House, and selling divisions […]

Online Orchid Fever Raises Alarm in Southeast Asia

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Malaysian researchers are exposing the illegal plant trade on social media. Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar have thousands of native orchid species, many sought out by collectors. There has always been an orchid trade, but online sellers have a wider reach than ever before. Sites like Facebook and eBay are […]

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 […]

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, […]