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    Posted on Apr 10, 2018

    THE PRAIRIES RAREST ORCHID FACES EXTINCTION

    Platanthera praeclara , the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid, is listed as an endangered species. One of the few orchids native to Prairie habitat, do you know which factor is the biggest reason for it's decline?

    1. what is the main reason this rare orchid is going extinct?

      photo credit: Eugene Reimer
      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Fragmentation

      While hebirvory and herbicides do contribute to the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid’s decline, habitat fragmentation of the prairie, mainly due to agricultural practices, is the leading threat to the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid. Habitat Fragmentation is the end result of natural and man-made processes that divide large areas into smaller areas. The fragmented areas severely affect the reproduction of endangered species by limiting gene flow. Herbivory is defined as the consumption of plant material by animals. The Western Prairie Fringed Orchid's seed pods are a tasty treat to grazers such as deer on the Prairie. Conservationists hoping to save the orchid via micropropagation usually have to reach seed pods before deer do! A herbicide is a chemical used to kill unwanted plants. If a Western Prairie Fringed Orchid happens to be near the spraying of agricultural fields or roadsides, it doesn't have enough vigor to survive.

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