Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Plan to Re-introduce Native Orchids

Flasks in the Micropropagation Lab.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is in the process of propagating millions of native orchids for reintroduction into South Florida’s urban landscapes. The new Micropropagation Laboratory at Fairchild will generate a supply of young native orchid plants. Local school landscapes and urban tree plantings will be the primary recipients of Fairchild’s reintroduction initiatives. The goal is to have a generation of reestablished orchids blooming throughout South Florida. The project will teach visitors, students, and our local community about the complexity and fragility of natural South Florida environments and the importance of habitat restoration.

Cyrtopodium punctatum.

Urban sprawl and housing expansion have decimated populations of native Florida orchids from Martin County south to the Everglades. Today many native orchids exist in such small numbers that they have no hope of recovering on their own. A handful of Florida orchid species, including Encyclia tampensis and Cyrtopodium punctatum, are now being propagated using these techniques for reintroduction into federal and state-managed natural areas. Fairchild's aim however is to reintroduce native orchids to Miami and its surrounding neighborhoods—complementing the existing orchid reintroduction projects aimed at natural areas—focusing efforts on South Florida’s urban environments. 

See the May issue of ORCHIDS magazine for the full story!