North America is home to more than 200 orchid species, like this Galearis spectabilis in Maryland. However, more than 50 percent of these orchids are listed as threatened or endangered in parts of their range. But there is hope. Smithsonian scientists are determined to conserve these plants for the future, in part by studying the complex relationship orchids have with fungi throughout their life, and by helping create the North American Orchid Conservation Center. This research will be discussed at the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism Summit April 21-23, 2017.
Photo credit: Melissa McCormick, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center