Every year millions of bulbs, corms and tubers are being dug up in the wild to supply the market for garden plants. In many cases the level of exploitation is so high that it threatens some species with extinction in their natural habitats. Some have already been lost. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which has been so successful in controlling damaging trade in certain species of animals, has yet to address the bulb trade effectively. One of the difficulties to be overcome is assessing its true extent and its effect on wild populations. In 1987 the FFPS contracted its staff botanist, Mike Read, to investigate the trade in wild-collected plants in Turkey. The findings reported here point clearly to the need for further research, more legislation and the promotion of sustainable methods of propagation in the countries of origin.