ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print

Online orchid fever raises alarm in Southeast Asia

Malaysian research sheds light on illegal plant trading on social media

Grammatophyllum speciosum, also known as the Tiger Orchid, in bloom on Penang Hill, on the Malaysian island of Penang. (Courtesy of Rexy Prakash Chacko)

GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia -- In his book "Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy" (2000), American travel writer Eric Hansen gave a vivid account of the complex and often intersecting worlds of obsessive flower collectors, fearless hunters and greedy plant smugglers.

Hansen's book opens in the jungles of Borneo, one of the world's largest orchid breeding grounds, where he and members of the seminomadic Penan tribe are guiding two American orchid growers who want to photograph the rare Paphiopedilum sanderianum, a rare species endemic to the island. It is, writes Hansen, "the holy grail of orchids [which] only a dozen botanists on earth have seen ... in the wild."

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more