Wonderful pics, Garland! Thanks for posting. I couldn't get past the articles on the Marie Selby Institute in Sarasota - they've grabbed a new phrag from Peru. Illegally, of course. It's gorgeus. But that's not the point. [WARNING - thread stealing in progress!]
Epi. Ilsense was collected by Selby in the last decade or so. When the collectors (ie, orchid theives) went back, the area was deforested and the naturally occurring plant was extinct (possibly). That could argue for collecters violating international law on exporting endangered species (CITES). Yet, collectors don't think of preservation. They care about ownership. Many raze a natural site, so that no one else may collect the orchid.
I'm reading an incredible book at the moment, 'The Race to Save the Lord God Bird', by Phillip Hoose. It's about the probable extinction of the ivory-bill woodpecker. It's a tear jerker. For several hundred years, new world explorers and even ornitholigists have recoginized the IB's unique place in the New World bird order. Yet the more enthralled they were - even those seeking to prove it still lived - the more samples they shot when they found them.
'To have' counts more than to preserve. I think it's a chilling lesson for orchid collectors. We want the new, the weird, the 'can't haves', as those before have lusted after an exclusive collection. But please not at the cost of a species. It's happening with orchids. We need to be aware and not contribute to the problem.
Ok, sermon done...no sympathy for Selby.