Mystical, endangered orchid blooms in Nago City

Mystical, endangered orchid blooms in Nago City

The mystical Iriomote orchid in bloom, in Nago City.

April 27, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Mitsuo Kochi

The Iriomote orchid, or Iriomote-ran, a treasured orchid species said to be extinct in the wild, successfully bloomed under the care of an orchid hobbyist in Nago City. The grower has carefully tended to the plant since purchasing it from a retailer 40 years ago.

Iriomote orchids belong to the orchid family. In the wild, they grow on large trees and its stems tend to shoot upward. Because the bulbs emerge at the base of the stem, the plant multiplies quickly. However, Iriomote orchids are now rarely found in the wild, as its population has dropped sharply from overharvesting. The Ministry of the Environment and the prefecture have designated it an endangered species. Its habitat distribution includes Iriomote Island and Taiwan.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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