An article by the Daily Express in the UK reported on the black market trade in valuable and rare orchids, and the prices that buyers purchase these flowers.
A rare Lady’s Slipper orchid, which is so rare that it is given police protection, was found on a golf course in the North of England. The flower was once thought to be extinct. It has been difficult to reintroduce the flower in other areas, creating a high demand for the flower. The flower reportedly can be bought for $8,358 (£5,000) each.
The Gold of Inabalu orchid can only be found in Malaysia, is sold for $5,850 (£3,500).
Peruvian orchids, which were discovered in 2001, were found to have be available for sale in the United States for $11,701 (£3,500).
The plant and flower trade is increasing in popularity around the world, leading to an increase in illegal cutting of flowers and other thefts. In the United Kingdom, theft from private gardens increased by 20 percent between 2008 and 2013.
There are 36,000 endangered plants and species around the world. Nearly 30,000 are from the orchid family.
The legal plant trade generates about $15 Billion (£9 Billion) a year.
Source: Adrian Lee, “The black market for green fingers: Illegal trade in rare plants reaches startling scale,” Daily Express, February 18, 2014.