The glass slipper of the greenhouse: what is the cost of the orchid trade?

Slipper orchids, despite being threatened in the wild, can be found in greenhouses all around the world © iStock

By |2022-06-21T14:36:02+00:00May 5th, 2022|Asian Species, Captive Breeding, Orchid Specialist Group, Plants, Southeast Asia|Comments Off on The glass slipper of the greenhouse: what is the cost of the orchid trade?

The protection of endangered plants is often overlooked in the world of conservation. But not only is the conservation of plant species vital for overall ecosystem survival, there are also specific threats facing plant species which need to be tackled and protecting them is a far more fascinating endeavour than you might expect. Anna Heath describes the evolutionary tricks which make orchids so striking and how the orchid trade is threatening the future of a particularly rare group: the slipper orchids.

When you think of an endangered species in Southeast Asia, what do you think of? For most people, this is probably an orangutan or an elephant, perhaps a pangolin.

The vast majority of people would not think of an orchid, even though there are 124 species of orchid in South and Southeast Asia currently listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.