Orchids are the largest family of flowers, but ironically most people are familiar with the tropical varieties whose bright colors are treasured in home gardens. Terrestrial orchids are losing ground, especially the ram’s head lady slipper. It is classified as endangered across all of its natural habitats. The Ridges Sanctuary has been taking inventory of ram’s head on its property and mapping out locations to help restore the plant’s local population. Land Manager Matt Peter says orchids require particular soil conditions.
The project is not ready to plant seedlings yet. When the time comes, Peter expects to avoid commercial suppliers, using seeds from local specimens instead. The Ridges is currently rolling out a slow reopening, and Peter says they are closely monitoring the rise in COVID-19 cases across the state and region.