By Maria Anderson
Orchids account for 10 percent of the world’s plant species, making them the largest plant family. They act as indicators of the health of ecosystems and other species around them. That’s why understanding what’s necessary for their survival and investing in their conservation is important.
Senior botanist Dennis Whigham and plant ecologist Melissa McCormick from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md. explain the need to conserve orchids, their habitats and the fungi and pollinators they depend on:
To learn more about native orchid conservation, visit the North American Orchid Conservation Center.
For 50 years, scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have been leading research to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century. Find out more.