NewsCovering Florida


US protection sought for threatened Florida ghost orchid

Posted at 11:22 AM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 11:22:38-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The rare ghost orchid faces mounting threats in Florida from poaching, loss of habitat and climate change and needs federal protection, environmental groups said Monday.

A petition filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asks that the orchid be placed under the Endangered Species Act and that its habitat in southern Florida be officially designated as critical to its recovery.

The petition was submitted by The Institute for Regional Conservation, the Center for Biological Diversity and the National Parks Conservation Association, according to a news release.

The groups estimate there are about 1,500 ghost orchids in Florida, where they have declined by 30% to 50%. The flowers were made famous in the book “The Orchid Thief” by Susan Orlean and the film “Adaptation.”

“The ghost orchid is emblematic of a wild, beautiful Florida, and this flower’s future depends on our ability to protect it from poaching and habitat loss,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director a tthe Center for Biological Diversity.