Orchids are inextricably linked with the tropical,

though what most people may not realize is that they grow nearly everywhere on Earth—in cold and warm climates, both high in the jungle canopy and hidden beneath leaf litter in a temperate forest or on a wet grassy area near your home.

Many species are critically endangered, though new discoveries on how orchids live, love and die are giving fresh hope to conserving some of the rarest and most enchanting plants on earth. A new collaborative effort, the North American Orchid Conservation Center, aims to collect, catalogue and propagate native orchid species from every region of the continent for research and restoration.

Despite some species’ extreme rarity, orchids constitute around 10% of all plant species on the planet.

Scientists know of over 25,000 species of wild orchids, and nearly 10 times that number of hybrid varieties.

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