Plant paparazzi – we like to think that taking a photograph is safe, compared to the damage done by those terrible, awful people who collect rare plants from the wild. But is it?
Botanists in Melbourne are trying hard to save one of the world’s rarest orchids, the Caladenia spider orchid, a tiny plant that grows only in a small area of bush east of Melbourne. Only two are now left in the wild, although a collection of viable seed is preserved at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens in the hope of reintroducing a viable population.
Apparently this poor plant has been “loved to death” by orchid enthusiasts who are determined to have a photo of every rare orchid for their collection. Last year someone bent the flower stem of one of the few plants that are left while holding it to take a photograph, meaning there was no chance of pollination or seed set.
This year, the one flowering plant left is covered with a cage and monitored by round-the-clock camera surveillance.
More details about the fight to save this rare plant at ABC.net.au