At Botanica Ltd., we endeavor to raise awareness of the ongoing loss of natural habitat around the world by offering seed-grown species from our lab. Ex-situ conservation and propagation are ways of protecting an endangered species by growing it in a safe location - away from its natural environment. It can also help take the pressure off the native populations by reducing collecting. Our efforts focus especially on angraecoids, primarily from Africa and Madagascar. We also grow many other orchid species and many tillandsias.
We've always been fascinated by the complexity with which orchids and their pollinators have evolved. It stretches the imagination! Our favorite plant/pollinator combination is that between Angraecum sesquipedale and the moth Xanthopan morganii praedicta—the subject of our home page art. The plant and its pollinator were subjects of Charles Darwin as he worked on his book "On the Various Contrivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects" in 1862. Darwin surmised that there must be a nocturnal hawkmoth in Madagascar with a proboscis of sufficient length to reach the nectar in the 12- to 13-inch flower spur of Angcm. sesquipedale. Many years later, it was proven to be true.
Simply put, most angraecoid flowers have these spurs/nectaries and provide sustenance to their pollinators (frequently moths since they typically use night-time fragrance as an attraction) who get pollen attached to their head as they reach for the nectar. These moths then unknowingly deposit this pollen at the next flower they visit, thereby ensuring propagation of the species. Many plants and their pollinators have evolved together over long periods of time, and there are no substitutions for one another.
Orchids are captivating, and the more we learn, the more we see there is to learn!