Lab project aims to revive rare Florida orchids

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Thousands of orchids growing in glass bottles in a lab at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden will be transplanted into hardwood trees lining suburban Miami's streets, parks and school campuses.

Five species of orchids that are native to Florida but now rare in the wild due to development and over-collection of orchids in the early 20th century are being cultivated in the Fairchild lab and will be moved into urban trees over the next five years. Researchers say the program will complement efforts to study and restore native orchids in Florida's nature preserves.

Similar urban conservation initiatives have taken root in major metropolitan areas such as Singapore and New York City. Fairchild researchers hope their orchid project will boost native plant populations and attract migrating birds and pollinators.

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