Orchids are one of the most ancient plants still in existence. Their life began in primordial times, with the species being highly adaptable so that the orchid could grow and change as the Earth itself did. Rare orchids are being protected as different eco-systems collapse.
With their ingrown sense of survival, the orchid lives in every climate, excluding solid ice. They do not necessarily need soil, as they can grow symbiotically in nature. Orchids will live in trees, mountains, bogs, grasslands, rocks, and forests. The roots of orchids will grow in the air, as well as laterally. Today there are over 35,000 orchid species living in every corner of the world. If the orchid doesn't have what it needs, the plant is clever enough to make the world around it create certain living conditions. Ants have been coerced into living with the orchid so that the acidic content can be put to use within the plant. Since orchids have existed before the birds and the bees, they have found a way to mimic pollinators to trick them into propagating.
Sometimes living in such harmony can become difficult for rare orchids. Orchids have become rare due to the care they need to thrive subsiding or the care is overdone. Other reasons such as deforestation and/or imminent extinction allow orchids to be added to the rare list.
Following are some examples of rare orchids.
- Ladyslipper orchids grow wild in Britain and have been harvested so much they are now on the verge of extinction.
- Phal Amboinensis flava is an albino orchid discovered thirty years ago in Singapore and whose stems grown indefinitely.
- Maxilliara Mombarchoenis and Epidendrum are found only on the Nicaraguan Mombacho Mountaintops.
- Bulbophyllum Hamelini is suffering from Madagascar's deforestation.
- Fly Orchids disappear in the Netherlands every time their forests get thick.
- Habenaria Psycodes is located in the South Appalachians and is rarely seen.
More recently in 2007, in an ancient tropical forest in Vietnam's Green Corridor, a new orchid species was found. The specialty of this species is that they are leafless. Not only that, but they have absolutely no chlorophyll or green pigmentation. The forests of the Annamites breed many other rarities, as well. In 2003, it was reported that in dense evergreen forests of Similipal, Orissa there are housed 93 species of orchids. Among these lives the rare orchid Goodyera Hisipada.
On the other side of the globe, in Washington State, lives the Phantom Orchids. Leafless and completely white, the plant will stay dormant for up to seventeen years after blooming just once. Development and logging is destroying the Phantom Orchid's habitat and is a protected species in Canada.
More than 3,000 orchid hybrids are created annually. Sizes, shapes, and colors abound in the orchid families. There are certainly enough orchids to thrive on the planet. However, some rare orchid species will continue to dwindle and meet extinction if mankind continues to destroy their habitats. Some rare orchids are dying out not because of man, but due to low propagation. The smaller specie classes will need to grow to continue.
As you can see, the rare orchids are far outweighed by the sheer number of living orchids. Who knows - with the brain that these plants have, maybe the devolution of the rare orchids will stop and arise in evolution as the orchid yet again adapts to its ever-changing world.