What’s in a name? Most of us learn our native orchids by their common names, but common names are often local, confusing folks outside our area. That’s why botanists prefer a universal binomial system—two names, usually in Latin. These scientific names often include additional terms that provide information for a distinctive orchid. Chelsea Kieffer has conducted botanical work across the country, and photographed many of those rare and unusual orchids identified as hybrids, varieties and forms. Visit the gallery!
Native orchids are a natural treasure and their survival can only be assured by educating the public about their complex life cycles and vulnerability. Removing them from their native habitat almost invariably results in their death. By helping to distribute the following post, we can hopefully deter this behavior from happening in the future.
Parks Canada is asking for the public’s assistance in solving the following crime at Fathom Five National Marine Park: Between 2 June and 10 June, 2017 a culturally significant and locally rare species of orchid was removed from Flowerpot Island. It is believed this Large Round-Leaved Orchid, Platanthera orbiculata, had been specifically targeted for its rarity. This particular plant had been present in the Park for over a decade and was utilized by Parks Canada staff for educational purposes. Anyone with information on this or other violations should contact Parks Canada Dispatch at 1-877-852-3100. More…
The North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC) and the United States Botanic Garden have developed the orchid-gami project as a fun activity to raise awareness about the conservation and ecology of our native orchids. These 3D models are a unique way for teachers, parents and children to learn about our native orchids and the challenges they face.
We invite you to try orchid-gami. Click on an orchid thumbnail to download the pdf file, then print, cut and fold! Some of the models are easy and others are challenging and require a bit of tape or glue. Visit the orchid-gami page!
Orchid Artistry October 20-22, 2017
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
San Marino, CA
Celebrate the amazing diversity of orchids—a vast family of more than 22,000 species in 880 genera—as hundreds of exotic blooms compete for honors at The Huntington’s 3rd annual International Orchid Show and Sale. The event will showcase lush displays by local and regional orchid societies and international growers, and vendors will have a wide range of orchid plants and related merchandise for sale. Details.
22nd World Orchid Conference 8-12 November, 2017
Ecuador’s largest city with a population approaching three million, will host the 22nd World Orchid Conference. The hallmarks of this World Orchid Conference will be two day-long symposia, one on Andean orchids with speakers from Colombia to Chile, and another on all aspects of the world’s most commercially important orchid genus, Vanilla. Details
Ninety percent of all plants on Earth rely on the fungi intertwined in their roots. The plants receive nutrients and water, as well as some other benefits, from these mycorrhizae – but some plants take advantage of the fungi and drain all their energy, giving nothing in return. Among the most beautiful, bountiful, and endangered such plants are the orchids. In this episode, Izzie talks with Dennis Whigham and Melissa McCormick, orchid scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, about how the fungi help the orchids and why orchid conservation is also leading to a lot of new fungal science. podcast
Many people are surprised to learn that North America is home to over 200 species of orchid. What’s more, an embarrassing amount of North America’s orchids are threatened with extinction. The plight of this intriguing plant family is an indication of how we are doing as a species. Orchids act as the proverbial canary in a coal mine. That is why Dr. Dennis Whigham, senior botanist for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, established the North America Orchid Conservation Center. Join us for a discussion with Dr. Whigham in which we cover everything from the mutualisms that orchids need to survive to what it is going to take to ensure their survival on this continent. podcast
The Orchid Recovery Program, based at Illinois College, has conducted orchid research and established conservation efforts in regions as diverse as Costa Rica, Cuba, and Madagascar. Here in the US, students under the direction of Professor Lawrence Zettler, have been tracking the elusive “ghost orchid” at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge for nearly a decade. Students Justin Mably and Shannon Skarha discuss their efforts with Ernesto Mujica of Cuba’s Ministry of Science ECOVIDA Research Center, where a similar monitoring program has been implemented. video
The Endangered Species Coalition has just released their annual top 10 list of endangered and rare species in the U.S. The report, No Room to Roam: 10 American Species in Need of Connectivity and Corridors, highlights ten rare or endangered species that lack safe, navigable corridors to connect them to important habitat or other populations. NAOCC’s partner at the Center for Plant Conservation successfully nominated the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea. Threats to this orchid include drainage and ditching for crop production, commercial and residential development, grazing by cattle and deer, drought, and encroachment of woody vegetation in prairies due to fire suppression. Gary Krupnick, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Plant Conservation Unit, served on the scientific advisory panel. The full report, along with links to photos and species info, can be viewed and downloaded from the Coalition website.
photo by Christopher David Benda
This 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.
We have now profiled over 200 orchids on Go Orchids and added the new video that describes navigating the site and using the Simple Key. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out- take a look and let us know what you think.
If you would like a copy of the video, or other NAOCC material, for your organization or to present at an upcoming meeting- contact us and we can send you a CD.
This 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.