Out of the 30,000 species of orchids in the world, Hawaii only has 3 native species. One of the species is currently endangered and near to extinction. That is the Platanthera holochila, more commonly known as the fringed orchid. There is currently only an estimate of 50 individual plants of this species that still remain in the wild in Hawaii.
This sparked the passion of a professor and three of his students to do something to save this endangered orchid. The full story of their valiant effort can be found in this article about the endangered Hawaiian orchid.
They would have flown to Hawaii in February and on March 6. They will accompany about 100 rare orchids, which have been nurtured from seeds and will be reintroduced to their natural habitat in hopes that they will all survive. If they do, this will essentially double their current dwindling population.
The orchid Platanthera holochila, or fringed orchid, grows in open shaded sites in wet forests. In Hawaii they can be seen growing in sites such as the Alakai Swamp in Kauai, where there is believed to be only one individual plant left. They can also be found on the Kamakou Preserve in Molokai, Hanaula, Waikamoi and Kapunakea Preserves in Maui.
They have dwindled in numbers because of over-collection, habitat degradation, and being consumed by wild animals like wild boars.
These orchids have light green leaves with weird yellowish-white flowers that have spike-like formations. They grow from underground tubers and have long stems that support their egg-shaped leaves.
I hope that the effort by these incredible people to help this orchid survive proves to be successful. If it does, then the future generation of orchid growers will have yet another beautiful and rare orchid to admire and care for.
What do you think about the effort of these people to save these incredible orchids? Share us your thoughts and leave us a comment below.
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