Orchid Preservation Abounds at The New York Botanical Garden’s 2016 Orchid Dinner

Over 300 guests attended the New York Botanical Garden‘s annual Orchid Dinner this past Tuesday, February 23– an event celebrated for its stunning orchid centerpieces, which were created by top New York designers. Through an evening of cocktails, dinner, and dancing, the event raised more than $600,000 to underwrite the development of the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Research, which will help strengthen and initialize new horticultural standards of orchid conservation.

Many of the orchids viewable in the gallery below are also on view year-round in the New York Botanical Garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which will host this year’s Annual Orchid Show, Orchidelerium, from February 27 until April 17, 2016.

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Today, many wild orchids are under severe threat of extinction from over-collection and, more pressingly, the destruction of native tropical habitats where orchids thrive. In the course of the last several decades, strict international regulations have been put in place by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (or CITES), which currently requires that all shipments of plants and wild animal specimens must be properly documented– e.g., benchmarked with an official document showing that the plants have been bred in cultivation and not taken directly from the wild, which has the potential to harm rare species.

Improperly- or fraudulently-documented shipments are seized at international borders and sent to what are known as “Plant Rescue Centers” like the New York Botanical Garden.

Tuesday’s event was a celebration of this culture of stewardship, and the potential that the NYBG has to protect and revive ailing and endangered species of orchids.

Designated Plant Rescue Centers, moreover, have the proper facilities to care for wild species, including more fragile species of orchid. The NYBG has been a designated Plant Rescue Center since 1990, and continues to steward innovative care and research surrounding the thousands of plants in their bailiwick. Through the careful application of innovative horticultural techniques, Garden Staff at NYBG have been successful in nurturing ailing specimens to a renewed state of health– a process that often underscores the garden’s boundary-pushing scientific research.

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