Agricultural researchers in Tainan have modified and reproduced an endangered garden orchid species, creating a commercial market for the new breed to protect the native plant from flower thieves, a laboratory said on Tuesday.
After years of experiments, the Tainan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, a botanical laboratory run by the Council of Agriculture, has bred the purple garden orchid (Spathoglottis pubescens) and modified it into the fifth-generation yellow-flowered Tainan No. 5, through crossbreeding, it said in a statement.
The original orchid, which is native to Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) and Green Island (綠島), has become “critically endangered” in the past few years due to landslides, typhoons, and human activity, station director Yang Hung-ying (楊宏瑛) said.
Some people have traveled upstream of Lanyu’s Tungching Creek (東清溪) to dig up the flowers, removing them from their original habitat, the station said.
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