The plants in this room are nationally or internationally recognized as rare or threatened. This means that there are relatively few of each of these species in the wild and that there is a threat to their continued existence. Habitat destruction, the collection of plants in the wild for sale, and the introduction of invasive species all threaten the survival of rare plants.
The United States Botanic Garden fosters plant conservation by cultivating a rare plant collection, developing conservation partnerships, and offering educational programs. The Garden is one of more than 80 repositories for plants seized at U.S. ports and borders under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known as CITES. Through this program we primarily accept and care for orchids, cycads, and cacti and other succulents.
The U.S. Botanic Garden partnered with Smithsonian Institution to form the North American Orchid Conservation Center. The Center’s mission is to ensure the survival of the over 200 orchid species native to the United States and Canada. The center has established a seed bank, propagation, and repopulation protocols for native orchids.