There was a display of a rare orchids at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum not too long ago, and I remembered the controversy that happened when it was first introduced.
For most orchid aficionados, this orchid is considered to be one of the greatest orchid finds in 100 years. The Phragmipedium kovachii is named after its discoverer James Michael Kovach. This orchid was discovered in 2001 in the jungles of Peru. This orchid is not only famous because of its beauty, but also because James Michael Kovach was charged and found guilty of violating the law.
Apparently, Kovach illegally brought orchids from Peru. These orchids were protected under CITES or Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. The Peruvian Government itself requested the investigation, which later led to Kovach being fined $1000 and put on probation for two years. There was also a proposal made in 2006 that the name Phragmipedium kovachii be voided.
In February, the orchid that was displayed in Minnesota was owned by Jerry Fisher, who acquired the seed from Peruvian nurseries. They say that this flower is so rare that it is only the third one to bloom in the entire United States.
Meanwhile here is a short description of this rare and controversial orchid:
The orchid is popular because of its flowers. The flowers bloom 15 to 23 cm in width, having a deep purple color. It has long basal leaves that reach 55 cm in length with occasional purple markings. They are considered terrestrials. These plants are so rare that even in Peru there are only 15 legally collected plants kept in three nurseries.
So if you would like a chance to get a peek at this very rare species of orchid, this is your chance. The beauty of some orchid species is quite exotic and tempting. Instead of bringing home plants illegally, I hope orchid enthusiasts and hunters alike still manage to follow the law set to protect these plants. Besides, this is for the sake of the future generation of orchid lovers.
Have you seen any rare orchids lately? Share your stories with us, and leave a comment below.
If you want to learn more about how to care for this orchid type, click to find out the 5 most important decisions about phragmipedium orchid care.