Habitat Loss                                          A grassroots movement towards orchid conservation


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Margaret M From article on this rescue
Margaret From's Article click to read

Orchid Habitat Loss 

Cypripedium candidum  photos and text by Jim Pyrzynski

Cypripedium candidum
was growing in this roadside ditch in Platte County, Nebraska. The photos were taken in April 2006. The photo with the red flags shows the locations of some of the plants. The other photo is a detail of an emerging Cypripedium.

roadsite Cyp candidum

This location is essentially a lost cause (and it was before the road grading activity) due to its location near development and adjacent to a site that is to be developed. There is a housing development right across the road from this site. Plus the site is not ideal habitat anymore as it is overrun with smooth brome and other weedy invasives. However, appropriate coordination between county and state government entities and a pro-active approach by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (our DNR) could have prevented the loss of a number of plants. We tallied approximately 100 plants in the ditch and the adjacent property and some still remain. The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo was given permission to relocate plants that were found in the ditch and had been overturned. We did that and they were potted and placed on the Zoo property in pots and did well last summer and are sprouting now. Other plants from this location (not the ditch, however, since we weren't able to locate them) were moved in the fall of 2006 to another location (some also had been relocated in the fall of 2005). The success of these actions remains to be seen since in my opinion the relocation sites are not the best. In any case, true success would only be ascertained if seedlings were to appear in these sites - something which won't happen, if at all, for several years.

For further reading Margaret From of the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo wrote an article "DROUGHT, PERIL, AND SURVIVAL IN THE GREAT PLAINS: CYPRIPEDIUM CANDIDUM" which was published in the North American Native Orchid Journal, Volume 13 (2), 2007

Cyp. candidum emerging Cypripedium candidum emerging.

Cyp candidum
above photo of Cyp. candidum is not from this roadside location

Cypripedium candidum has a relatively small distribution area.
Cypripedium candidum in Nebraska is found in the northeastern part of the state from seven sites. The site described above is one of those seven sites.

From Margaret From's article:
"Two of the seven known Cypripedium candidum populations in
Nebraska now face an uncertain future due to land sales and
development, and a third faces environment-altering practices that may
destroy the population. One of those populations is on the edge of a
medium sized city where the orchid‘s habitat is scheduled for
commercial development. All the sites have relatively good soil, which
can easily be converted to crop production."

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