Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum and the Yachang Orchid Nature



Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum and the Yachang Orchid Nature
Orchid Conservation International News Up-date Autumn 2011
Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum and the Yachang
Orchid Nature Reserve
By Dr. Holger Perner
y wife Wenqing and I recently attended an international orchid
workshop held at the Yachang Orchid Nature Reserve in
northwest Guangxi Province. The reserve has already attracted some
interest for having a large Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum population,
but I wasn’t prepared to see the full extent of it!
The administration of the reserve claims to have far over 100,000
plants. I myself have seen tens of thousands by glancing into three
spots in the 200 square kilometer reserve.
These certainly consisted of many thousand
genets. And this is only the number for one
Paphiopedilum species.
The reserve contains huge numbers of
Cymbidium cyperifolium as well. In addition,
Coelogyne fimbriata, Eria rhomboidalis,
…saving the world’s orchids
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>> Panisea cavalerei, Bulbophyllum kwantugensis and other such
species cover many a rock face in large colonies. At one site—the
“Germplasm Gene Garden,” which is not a garden but a very rich
natural site—the density of some species can reach 300 plants per
square meter. In total, there are over 120 orchid species in 107
genera in this reserve.
Yachang lies at the border to Guizhou province and not far away
from the Yunnan border as well. Remarkably, in Guangxi province
this area, i.e., Leye county, is called “little Manchuria” because it
has the coldest winter in the South China province. Yachang reserve
has a minimum winter temperature of -2°C, which is hard to believe
if one considers that there is a valley in the reserve where Vanilla
siamensis is covering the cliffs. Vanda concolor is not uncommon
in the reserve as well and I saw Kingidium braceanum in flower on
a tree. All these plants I would not associate with a cold winter and
likely their habitats are more protected.
Besides Cym. cyperifolium, Yachang is home to Cym. tracyanum,
Cym. macrorhizon, Cym. nanulum (if one considers this a good
species), Cym. longibracteatum, Cym. goeringii, Cym. floribundum,
Cym. kanran, Cym. faberi, Cym. quibeiense, Cym. lancifolium, and
Cym. bicolor. The only Cymbidium species I saw in flower during my
visit was Cym. lancifolium.
For the slipper orchid experts, besides Paph. hirsutissimum and
Paph. dianthum, only a small number of Paph. micranthum is known
from the reserve. However, I met the leading field orchidologists of
China during the workshop and they showed me their photos of
Paphiopedilum species they found in Yunnan and Guangxi.
They reported that
Paph. gratrixianum is growing in Simao (the
region southwest of Kunming and north
of Xishuanbanna), Paph. villosum near
Guilin in Northeast Guangxi, and Paph. ×
wenshanense in Simao again. All of these
are very unexpected finds. There might
be more of the genus Paphiopedilum in
Yachang as well.
Finally, Hong Jiang from the Yunnan
Forestry Institute was the discoverer of
a new site for Cypripedium subtropicum.
He found the species in Southeast Yunnan
at the border with Vietnam. In late June, I
joined him on a trip to see the species in its
habitat: dense jungle on steep slopes at an
altitude of 1550 m. The species, about one
metre tall, was still in bud but flowered 10
days later on July 7. The only Cypripedium
species known from Yachang so far is Cyp.
henryi, growing in the highest areas in the
nature reserve.
Dr. Holger Perner is Senior Advisor at the
Huanglong Nature Reserve Administration
in Sichuan Province, China and technical
director of Hengduan Mts. Biotechnology,
Ltd. He is a judge for the German Orchid
Society, an internationally renowned
speaker, and a frequent contributor to many
international journals and publications. Dr.
Perner was a speaker at the 2009 Cymbidium
Congress in Santa Barbara, California. He
resides in China with his family.
Photo page one; a small part of a huge
Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum colony growing on a
cliff in the Yachang Orchid Nature Reserve.
Left and top; The author examining Paphiopedilum
hirsutissimum in bloom some 150 m above the road.
…saving the world’s orchids
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A Cool Idea: Orchid Seed Stores for Sustainable Use
Philip Seaton
n view of the continuing threats to orchid populations in the
wild due to loss of habitat, change of land use, climate change
and loss of pollinators, there is an urgent need to establish an
integrated conservation strategy involving both in situ and ex situ
methodologies. Orchid Seed Stores for Sustainable Use (OSSSU), a
project established in 2007 with the aid of a UK Darwin Initiative grant,
is likely to become a key ex situ component in such conservation
OSSSU is a network of of orchid seed banks in twenty-plus
countries and more than 25 institutes around the globe. Members
share knowledge and expertise to assist each individual country
to conserve seeds of its native orchid species in its own in-country
seed storage facility. An initial germination test is carried out before
the seeds are dried and stored at below-freezing temperatures and
subsequently at intervals to monitor seed viability over a period of
weeks, months and years. We know that the dry seeds of some
species will survive for many decades under refrigerator (c.50C) or
freezer (c.-18 to -200C) conditions, but equally we have evidence that
seeds of some species are more short-lived. Our aim is to identify
which species have short-lived seeds and identify any patterns;
to begin to understand the reasons for the differences in storage
response and develop techniques to allow long-term conservation
of such difficult-to-store species. Storage over liquid nitrogen at 1960C may be appropriate for some species for example.
Valuable data has been generated for more the different
responses of more than 300 species on Knudson C. This will be
the first time that data is available for germination on one medium.
Individual species, respond differently to various formulae, and
additional comparisons have been made in each country according
to local experience. One of the aims of the project is to attempt to
tease out some of the reasons for the wide
range of responses.
The OSSSU web site is becoming
a valuable resource for orchid seed
biotechnologists by providing references to
the latest scientific investigations into related
topics and in the future will act as a one-stopshop for data on a wide range of issues.
In addition to information on germination
media, the web site will include information
about, seed capsule ripening times, seed
counts per capsule and seed sizes.
Once germinated the seed can be
used to generate plants to enhance living
collections, both for educational purposes
and for re-introduction projects. OSSSU
contains a number of successful examples
of the latter, including a project to reintroduce the cigar orchid (Cyrtopodium
punctatum) into the Fakahatchee Strand in
the Florida Everglades by partners at Atlanta
Botanical Garden and Cattleya quadricolor
by members of the Asociación Vallecaucana
de Orquideología in Colombia.
It would be difficult, if not impossible,
to co-ordinate such a large project without
the facility in communications provided by
the internet, however, there still remains no
substitute for face-to-face contact. Certainly
at the outset meetings held for an Asian
…saving the world’s orchids
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>> network in Chengdu, China, and for a
Latinamerican network in Quito, Ecuador,
proved invaluable for establishing agreed
protocols between the partner institutions.
A workshop in San José, Costa Rica, in
September 2010 brought partners from
twenty countries together to discuss the
progress of the project so far. We are now
looking to expand the network for the future
and to set in train a number of project to
further investigate the underlying science.
After all, the aim of establishing a seed bank
is to store orchid seeds for many years
to come.
For further information about OSSSU go
to: or email
Phil Seaton at [email protected] or Tim
Marks at [email protected]
Interested in learning
more? Become a member!
Annual Membership is still only £5
this includes:
• Free entry to two OCI talks a year.
• Orchid advice at meetings and via E-mail for questions on Orchid
Culture, Taxonomy, Conservation.
• Bi-annual E-newsletter.
• The opportunity to support Orchid
Conservation worldwide.
Please Contact: The
Simon Pugh Jones
Telephone: 01761 433 581
Email: [email protected]
Postal Address: Jodrell Laboratory.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Kew, Richmond, Surrey,
TW9 3DS United Kingdom
In search of Cattleya trianae:
a journey to Huila
Leticia Abdala Berzunza and Vicente Perdomo Caicedo
olombia possesses more than 4,000 species of orchids, among
which is the beautiful Cattleya trianae, declared Colombia’s
national flower in November 1936. The Ministry of Environment
celebrated 2010 as the National Year of Orchids, mentioning in the
resolution that during the last 100 years Cattleya trianae has lost
80% of its natural habitat. Based on this information, we decided to
travel to the Department of Huila to make a tour from Neiva to Suaza,
to see for ourselves how each city strives to preserve this species.
In Neiva, as in most of the cities in the Department of Huila, it is
common to find Cattleya trainae hanging from trees inside interior
patios, where the local people refer to them as “mayos”, since the
flowering of this orchid occurs during the month of May.
The first city we visited was Gigante, in whose central park is
a giant ceiba called the Independence Tree as it was planted on
October 5th 1851, the day on which José Hilario López, President of
the Republic, signed the Slave Abolition Law for Colombia.
Throughout our trip we noticed that in the central parks of the
cities of Garzón, Altamira and Tarqui, the planted trees have cattleyas,
which are respected and cared for by the inhabitants. The trees
are mainly carboneros and samanes. Along the roadside, we found
peasants’ houses, that usually have “mayo plants” that the people
enjoy and display with great pride.
Arriving in the city of Guadalupe, one travels through a green
tunnel, formed by trees each showcasing the “mayo plants”. In 1980
the Department of Huila’s Governor, signed a decree in which he
ordered the authorities to plant trees on the roadside for 1km before
entering each city. Further on, Mr. Alvaro Tobar, a teacher at the
Colegio María Auxiliadora, decided to plant the trees with orchids at
the entrance of his home town. He accomplished this with the help
of his students. Each orchid is properly inventoried and all have
signs such as: “Take care of me” and “Love me”, inviting people to
…saving the world’s orchids
Registered Charity No: 1107354
>> preserve such plants. A wonderful example to follow and imitate.
On the last leg of our journey we passed through the city of Suaza,
where orchids are not only planted on trees, but also in hanging
baskets in its central park, where people admire and respect them.
In conclusion, with the participation of members of such groups
as the OSSSU Project (Orchid Seed Stores for Sustainable Use), we
strongly believe that orchid conservation is possible in Colombia as
well as around the world. Its success is directly proportional to the
enthusiasm and work of orchid lovers by:
1. Motivating the authorities so that they follow the
example of the different Mayors of the cities we
visited and making them commit to the conservation
of orchids, placing them in public areas where people
can admire and care for them for the future, and
discouraging unscrupulous people from stealing them.
2. Motivating those managers responsible for the
organisation of social clubs, universities, schools,
factories, hotels, sports complexes, etc., so that they
plant orchids on the existing trees of such places,
where the habitat is appropriate for orchids, based on
the conditions of the location.
In order to accomplish this, it is necessary that all members of the
different orchid growers associations to interact with the community,
by sharing, sharing and sharing: sharing motivation, sharing time,
sharing knowledge, sharing plants … holding conferences on how
to grow these plants, in schools and universities, and teaching
peasants how to recognize orchids, inviting them to care for them
and protect them from being taken away from their natural habitats.
There is a lot of work to do; if you, dear reader don’t fulfill your
commitment, no one will do it for you.
Report on the April 2011
OCI lecture
OCI teamed up with the Bristol
University Botanic Gardens for this
spring’s OCI lecture given by Phil
Phil’s talk, ‘Saving Darwin’s Orchids’,
explored the threats to orchids and
their habitats along with a range of
steps being taken within communities
across the world to challenge these
The lecture was warmly received
by its audience and was followed by
refreshments and an opportunity to
discuss the issues raised.
The Bristol University Botanic
Gardens is a vibrant focus for
horticulture, education and
conservation with a full programme
of community courses and events as
well as fascinating gardens to present
the living collections. These include a
significant orchid collection.
More information about the Gardens
can be found at;
…saving the worlds’ orchids
Registered Charity No: 1107354
Orchid Conservation International Lecture
A bit of monkey business -
Lecture by Mike Fay,
November 5th 2011 at 2 pm,
Jodrell Laboratory
Entry via Jodrell Gate from 1.15 pm
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Design: Miss Lontay Photo of Orchis simia, by Mike Fay
or when is a lady not a lady?
he military, lady and monkey orchids are among the rarest plants in England
and they don’t occur elsewhere in the UK. These species are easy to distinguish
when they are pure, but they hybridise in all combinations when they grow near
each other. Mike will talk about how we investigate this and what the hybrids mean
for the conservation of these species.
£5 entry (includes OCI membership for 2011 - 2012)

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