Poachers target Michigan orchids

Capital News Service
LANSING — Poaching commonly brings to mind ivory tusks from protected African elephants or the silky fur of the endangered Bengal tiger. What’s often neglected is plant poaching — stealing rare and endangered plants from public lands for profit or for possession. In the Great Lakes region, some of the most commonly poached plants are goldenseal, American ginseng — and rare orchids. Goldenseal and American ginseng are valued due to medicinal claims. Rare orchids are valued by collectors for their beauty and scarcity. “Demand will make a market – it’s no different from drugs,” says Frank Telewski, curator of the W.J. Beal Botanical Gardens at Michigan State University.

Michigan man on quest to photograph native orchids

Capital News Service

LANSING — The tiny white-and-pink flowers made Mark Carlson’s heart pound. His 30-year quest to find and photograph the small round-leaved orchis (Amerorchis rotundifolia) was finally over. But he couldn’t believe how tough it was going to be to get the picture just right. Carlson, a 58-year-old professional nature photographer who lives in Laingsburg in central Michigan, is on a mission to photograph the state’s best orchids. Common or plain orchids and ugly backgrounds don’t interest him.