The darker side of orchids reared its ugly head recently with an intriguing article about the strange and highly illegal items seized by UK border officials.
Eight live big cats, hippo teeth, tortoises aplenty, walrus horns and a Rolls Royce upholstered with alligator skin were among some of the smuggled items, according to the report.
The haul included 500kg of face cream containing caviar extract and, check this out, bodybuilding supplements containing the rare orchid Dendrobium. In fact, there was a noticeable a shift in the beauty and fitness industries, where endangered species once used only in folk medicines are being sold as such supplements and facial creams, for instance, in the evolving market.
A Home Office spokesperson said more items were confiscated in the year up to April 2013 than ever before.
I plan to read the small print on future packaging on cosmetics with more care. Mind you, I can’t imagine caviar face cream will be on special at Wilkinson’s.
By Pamela Kelt