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Orchids are making a comeback in South Florida

The 30,000 orchids now growing in some Miami-Dade cities began their lives as tiny dust-like seedlings in glass bottles, specks of hope that have grown into a promising start to bringing back rare and endangered species of orchids that were once abundant in South Florida.

Since the beginning of the Million Orchid Project in 2014, a push to reintroduce the colorful plants into Miami-Dade’s urban landscape, the plants have been transplanted along public streets in Coral Gables, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and even seaside Bal Harbour. Working for the love of the green thumb, an army of volunteers, high school students and researchers have nurtured the seedlings into five-inch plants that are now attached to trees and growing in the ground.

Taking the science of orchids to the people is a major facet of the project, which started with a goal of planting a million orchids in five years. The project won’t meet that goal, but the expectation is that there will be a foundation for orchids to spread exponentially on their own in the next few decades. The key is volume — to plant so many orchids that neither nature nor humans can hinder the growth. Over time, the wind will carry seedlings along and leave them in new places to thrive.

Read more at the Miami Herald

Publication date: 1/9/2017

 


 

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