Photo © Dr Stephan Gale, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Dendrobium is an orchid genus of more than 1,200 species spread across Asia and Australia. Many of these orchids are in a great demand in horticulture for their stunning blooms, and others in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the purported bioactivity of compounds in their stems and leaves. This has resulted in the drastic depletion of wild populations throughout South China and Southeast Asia, and some species, such as Dendrobium catenatum, are now on the brink of extinction. Since the Indo-Burma region is a center of Dendrobium diversity, KFBG is using a mixture of morphological, phylogenetic, population genetic and community involvement approaches to inventory and describe this diversity, develop sustainable ex situ micropropagation alternatives to wild collection, trace trade, and support better enforcement against poaching.