News / USA

    Public Gets Rare View of Endangered Plants

    US Botanic Garden houses more than 10,000 plants

    Photographers like Josefina Mateo from California hold up the tourist traffic in the orchid room at the US Botanic Garden.
    Photographers like Josefina Mateo from California hold up the tourist traffic in the orchid room at the US Botanic Garden.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Rosanne Skirble

    A plant in Namibia survives on fog. Visitors can get a rare look at the Welwitschia or Desert Onion on display at the U.S. Botanic Garden, a glass-domed building at the foot of the United States Capitol in Washington.

    Opened in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden houses more than 10,000 plants in exhibits which reflect the world’s deserts, jungles and other landscapes. Rare and endangered species are spotlighted.

    Horticulturalist Ray Mins says the lush varieties in and around rocks of an artificial lava flow and waterfall in the Hawaii room, drive that message home.

    “Hawaii has one of the smallest land masses in North America, but has the largest percentage of endangered species. Almost every plant you see in this room is endangered.”

    Mins points out Brighamia or “Cabbage on a Stick” whose population has been decimated in the wild due to overgrazing, development and competition from invasive plants.

    Mins says the delicate balance between plant and pollinator has been upset  “The pollinator of that plant is extinct and there’s no natural way for that plant to be pollinated, although in captivity you can pollinate it.”

    Jody Johnson represents Pollinator Partnership and was among two dozen exhibitors who were recently stationed at booths along garden walkways. Her group promotes the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems.  

    She says beyond the birds, bees and butterflies are other important pollinators to watch.  “Bats, geckos, and flying squirrels being examples that people don’t know about.”

    Like all flowers, orchids are dependent on pollinators. The U.S. Botanic Garden has some 5,000 species which are grown and propagaged at the garden's research center.  

    The way they are rotated 200 at a time into tree trunks and branches along a misty forest like walkway captivates Californian Josefina Mateo, and her family, visiting from the Philippines. “I saw this little nook in the corner with orchids from the Philippines. That got me excited.”  

    As his sister-in-law takes pictures, Raul de los Santos gets a closer look at an orchid he rarely sees at home.

    “Having this represented helps especially for my kids to understand that there are certain things to be more aware of in the environment. We’re losing a lot of the special species that we have.”  

    Horticulturist Mins is troubled that so many orchids, like the ones in this display, are endangered, largely from illegal collectors.

    He says the orchids help teach a lesson to passersby. “We hope that people see the beauty of native and endangered plants and can walk away understanding that actions that we take as humans and as gardeners really can affect plants and what we can do at home can help protect endangered species.”

    Nancy Guyer of Clinton, Maryland comes to the garden to relax and is moved by what she sees.

    “When something is gone from the world, there is no getting it back.  And everything on earth was put there for a reason, and it all affects how we live.”

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora