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Lost Orchids of Maryland

Maryland is one of the original 13 colonies with a landscape that stretches across three main physiographic provinces. Barrier islands and cypress swamps on the Coastal Plain give way to the low rolling hills of the fertile Piedmont then rise up to the rugged mountains on the Appalachian Plateau with hemlock forests, mountain bogs, and narrow stream valleys surrounded by steep ridges. These diverse habitats contribute to Maryland’s impressive flora that includes over 50 orchid species with observations that go back to the 1600s.
This month photographer Gary Van Velsir reminds us of those orchids which now appear on the list of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plants updated by the Maryland Natural Heritage Program. Many of these plants are in trouble, including nine orchids that seem to have completely disappeared. Considered extirpated (locally extinct), could these orchids just be lost, waiting to be found? Go to the Gallery

Non-Native Orchids

Non-native OrchidsThis month say goodbye to summer and hello to some of our non-native orchids. Many of these orchids that have naturalized across North America, were originally cultivated in our gardens but somehow their dust-like seeds “slipped the chains of cultivation and made a successful run for freedom” -Jim Ackerman, University of Puerto Rico.
We hope this gallery will help you identify those non-native orchids that have naturalized, understand a little bit of their ecology and recognize their potential impact on our native vegetation.

Video- The Orchid Keepers

cyrtopodium-punctatum-smallThis short video by Richard Kern at Odyssey Earth describes the conservation efforts at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park by our partners at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The success of their conservation program is rooted in the expertise and dedication of their staff and volunteers, and a commitment to work directly with local landowners, botanical institutions and civic organizations to develop new methods of propagating rare plants and establishing them in restored habitats. To learn more about the orchid restoration efforts by the Atlanta Botanical Garden, visit our gallery archive.

Hal Horwitz July 6, 2015

Hal Horwitz, PhotographerWe are saddened by the news of the passing of our friend and colleague Hal Horwitz.

Hal and his wife, Helen, enjoyed a rich and active life, sharing their passion for orchids as they travelled from Florida to Newfoundland to Alaska capturing their beauty on film.

Hal was an early champion of NAOCC and supported our efforts in many meaningful ways. He was instrumental in creating opportunities for us to tell the NAOCC story and established many of the contacts that continue to support our conservation efforts on the web. Our initial Gallery featured his photography and his images form the banner on the opening page of the NAOCC site. The stunning Yellow Lady’s Slipper, an image Hal was especially proud of, has become synonymous with the Go Orchids web site. Hal envisioned a field guide on native orchids and was working with us to develop the guide as a companion to Go Orchids. We intend to honor his dream and complete this mission.

Hal freely shared his knowledge, taught many, and worked with many others to capture the essence of native plants, especially orchids.

We will miss his passion for life, and extend our condolences to his family and friends. You can read about his life and family here: