Orchids Came at a Steep Price:
Rare, exotic orchids fetched enormous sums in European markets. Prices were high because expeditions to find new orchids were often long and dangerous.
The craze for new orchids also decimated wild populations. As Victorian explorers traveled the world looking for new species to collect and sell, they ripped out countless plants and sometimes destroyed orchid habitats to maintain their exclusive access.
During the orchid craze, a living plant could cost more than the yearly salary of a well-paid gardener!