Since 2002, we have collaborated with Steve Perlman at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai to cultivate one of North America’s rarest orchids, Platanthera holochila. Fewer than 50 individual plants are thought to remain of this species in Hawaii scattered on three islands (Kauai, Molokai, Maui), and only one plant persists on Kauai. We are using various laboratory techniques in an effort to grow this species from seed here at Illinois College. A total of 85 seedlings were returned to Hawaii in March 2011 by three IC students. We expect more seedlings will be reintroduced in the next 5 years.
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