Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 21233.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021233

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Trade of native orchids on Chinese online platforms

Jing Huang1, Mei Sun1, Wenfeng Yu1,2, Jianyong Wu3,*(), Huaizhen Tian1,*()   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241
    2 AI and Big Data Research Institute, Shanghai Seek Data Technology Limited Company, Shanghai 200123
    3 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Science, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Nanjing 210042
  • Received:2021-06-07 Accepted:2021-12-29 Online:2022-04-20 Published:2022-04-14
  • Contact: Jianyong Wu,Huaizhen Tian


Aims: China has a high diversity of orchid species, and many of them have high medicinal and ornamental value. With the rapid development of online platforms, the online trade of orchids is becoming increasingly prevalent. This study aims to explore the scope of native online orchid trading in China by investigating the three main trading platforms: Taobao, Pinduoduo and Hmlan.

Methods: We utilized the Pycharm Community software to sift through online trade information and manually browsed other information and recorded it. Then, we made a statistical analysis of the online orchid trade on Taobao, Pinduoduo and Hmlan.

Results: In total, 339 species (including three varieties) classified into 84 genera of orchids were recorded in this survey, including 45 endemic species. Among them, Cymbidium and Dendrobium were the most traded orchid genera. There were 309 species (91.1%) sold for only ornamental use, 5 species (1.5%) for only medicinal use, and 25 species (7.4%) for both purposes. A total of 336 species (99.1%) of wild orchids were recorded, and merchants sell wild orchids on purpose. More than half of the orchids were sold at the price of ¥10-¥49 with the maximum sales on Taobao and Pinduoduo, and sales on Pinduoduo were lower and more concentrated within the price range of ¥15-¥35 occupied 57.5% of sales. Further statistics on the endangered degree of recorded orchids found that 188 species (55.5%) were in threatened, including 23 species (6.8%) in Critically Endangered (CR), 85 species (25.1%) in Endangered (EN) and 80 species (23.6%) in Vulnerable (VU). The source provinces of the orchid sold were mainly in Yunnan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian and Sichuan.

Conclusion: To effectively strengthen the protection of wild orchid diversity in China, it is strongly recommended that each online platform reforms the rules of selling orchids based on the latest List of National Key Protected Wild Plants. Regions mentioned above should be paid more attention, and public education on orchid protection should be enhanced. Relevant departments need to exchange information about the sale of wild orchids on online platforms to protect them.

Key words: orchid trade, Orchidaceae, online platforms, wild resources, conservation and utilization