In 1999, the Kona Orchid Society (KOS) Board established a committee for orchid conservation with Denver Leamanas the first Director of Conservation. A Conservation Committee was established to apply for grants, to hike into remote areas to locate Hawaiian native orchid populations, and to do research on the habitat and propagation of native Hawaiian orchids, Anoectochilus asndvicensis, and Liparis hawaiensis. It is believed both orchids are found on the Big Island but are very rare. The Liparis species has not been seen in the wild for several years. A third species, Platanthera holochila, is native to Maui and only found on that island.
In 2000, KOS received a grant for $500 from the Hawaii Community Foundation—West Hawaii. The conservation research team located a population of Anoectochilus asndvicensis (Hawiian Jewel Orchid). A few cuttings were collected and distributed to members for ion cultivation. Some Anoectichilus flowers were hand pollinated, but the seeds did not germinate, due to mold contamination. Further attempts were made to produce viable seeds.
KOS received its second $500 grant in 2001 from the Ironman Foundation. Additional conservation funds were applied to the mericloning experiment, several plants grew with a couple even producing flowers, but none survived long term. Several leads from hunters and herb collectors to find additional populations of these rare orchids have not been successful.
The Orchid Recovery Program at Illinois College with Dr. Lawrence Zettler headin up a team of grad students to work on the exploration, propagation and recovery of Peristylus holochila.