The majority of species traded are plants and orchids are one of the main taxonomic groups. This includes the international horticultural industry, ingredients in traditional medicines, high-end cosmetics, and edible products. Every orchid species is listed in the CITES, accounting for >70% of all species listed by the Convention.
Recognising the importance of this trade and the conservation implications of unsustainable exploitation, in October 2016, the IUCN Species Survival Commission Orchid Specialist Group established a new sub-group focused on the global orchid trade. The sub-group aims to generate and coordinate expert inputs on the trade of orchids and their derivatives, to inform domestic regional and international conservation and sustainable use efforts. This includes engaging with policy makers, practitioners and the public to provide information and expertise and raise the profile of orchid trade.