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Plant paparazzi kill rare orchid



October 19, 2013

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?


A similar spider orchid from Western Australia (which is not threatened)

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

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