Native plants used in plant recovery projects around the Southeast are cultivated in the Garden's Tissue Culture Lab. Once they are propagated, the seedlings are moved to the Conservation Greenhouse. This plant nursery provides a place to grow them to maturity before transplanting them back in the field. The Greenhouse shelters plants such as Vanilla, Laelia Purpurata, Bucket Orchid, Kentucky Ladyslipper, Monkey Face Orchid, and the Cigar Orchid.
Cigar Orchid Restoration Project
Southern Florida’s Cigar Orchid is one of many rare orchids growing in the tissue culture lab and greenhouse. In the 1940s, healthy populations of this orchid were nearly decimated in Florida through loss of habitat and harvesting by collectors. In 2007, the Garden was asked by the state of Florida to assist in recovery efforts of the Cigar Orchid within the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. At the time, fewer than 20 orchids were growing in the park. In 2009, the first orchid capsule was harvested and sent to the tissue culture lab where staff and dedicated volunteers propagated plants for recovery. Since then, the recovery team has established nearly 1,000 new Cigar Orchids into the preserve where it conducts research to monitor survival and map the project’s success.
White Fringeless Orchid
The white fringeless orchid (Platanthera integrilabia) is currently a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act and is rare throughout its range. In Georgia, the white fringeless orchid is native to areas of the upper Piedmont region from Rabun to Carroll Counties. Its preferred habitat is bottomland seepage bogs and narrow floodplains of small spring-fed creeks. Major threats include habitat destruction, forest succession due to fire suppression, illegal poaching, and incompatible silviculture practices.
The Garden has been active for years, providing habitat management expertise, collecting germplasm from many populations for propagation and safeguarding and actively surveying for additional populations. Most recently, the Garden led a diverse partnership funded through the NFWF 5 Star Urban Waters program to restore habitat for the species and grow plants from seed in our laboratories for introduction into the restoration sites on a mix of public and private lands. To learn more about this project and the partnerships, please see our StoryMap.
Plants of New Caledonia
An Ancient and Diverse Flora
New Caldeonia, an archipelago halfway between Australia and Fiji, is an extraordinary tropical island. With white sands and palm trees, the island's most striking floristic feature is the conifers belonging to the ancient plant family Araucariaceae. These trees are often called "living fossils" because they resemble their ancestors the Arauchariads, trees that forested the Earth during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (ages of the dinosaurs, 200 to 65 million years ago).
The Garden has a diverse collection of plants from New Caledonia. Many of the plants are on display and can be found throughout the Fuqua Conservatory.