By JENNIFER HUDAK
Botanists from Fairchild Tropical and Botanic Garden and volunteers mounted 250 rare and endangered orchid seedlings onto tree trunks in Coconut Grove. The “Million Orchid Project” is aimed at reintroducing rare and endangered orchid species that have become nearly extinct in South Florida.
Schoolyards, hospitals and roadways are among the sites for the reintroduction initiative, which aims to have the first generation of re-established orchids blooming throughout the area within five years.
“Launching the Million Orchid Project to Coconut Grove brings all the things we love about the Grove together: environment, history and beauty,’’ Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell said in a tweet.
More than 100 volunteers through Fairchild spread out through the community over the course of one afternoon. According to Fairchild’s website, the Florida butterfly orchid and cowhorn orchid will be planted throughout the community. Each bloom may yield more than one million seeds, but the odds are that none of the tiny, dust-like seeds will ever grow into a new plant.
As of today, the only native orchids that exist in South Florida exist in such small numbers that they have little hope of recovering on their own.
Hopefully, this project will bring beauty and an orchid population back to South Florida.