9 July 2019

Lonely and hungry

Can fungi save orchids from extinction?

Lady's slipper orchid (Cypripedium reginae)

Orchids are fussy, requiring niche habitats and the help of a specific fungus to germinate.

The decline in fungal abundance and altered soil characteristics, due to land use change, chemical and biological change, as well as climate change, are sadly reducing wild orchid numbers.

The Lady Slipper orchid is now so rare in the UK, that just one plant remains in the wild and it’s protected in a top-secret location.

How can we save orchids, like the Lady Slipper, from extinction with fungi?
Dr Viswambharan Sarasan, Research Leader in In Vitro Biology, talks more about the specific requirements of orchids and explains Kew’s efforts to reintroduce rare orchids back into the wild in this filmed talk.

Read & watch