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Excerpts from
VOLUME 76, NO. 1—January, February, March 2012
 

Orchids: Beautiful Symbols of Beautiful Places
Carol Siegel
12 pages, 15 photos



Guatemala: Lycaste virginalis ‘Golden Gate’
©Eric Hunt

National symbols are meant to unite a people by creating a visual representation of their values, goals, or character. Benjamin Franklin famously suggested that the bald eagle was a terrible symbol of America—a coward and a robber, too lazy to hunt for himself. He suggested rather the turkey, a true native of great courage and intelligence. Nobody took Franklin up on his suggestion. To be chosen as a symbol, it helps if you are majestic and beautiful and inspiring. You just can’t be a turkey...

 

 
Lepanthes Novae Tapantienses
Franco Pupulin & Diego Bogarín
10 pages, 17 images


With more than 900 species, Lepanthes Sw. is one of the largest genera in the Orchidaceae and among the largest in the whole plant kingdom. Among the orchids, only Bulbophyllum Thouars, Dendrobium Sw. s.l., Epidendrum L., and Stelis Sw. can rival Lepanthes in number of species. Our knowledge of Lepanthes diversity is still largely incomplete. Despite their broad geographic distribution, ranging from southern Mexico to the West Indies and to Bolivia and northern Brazil in South America, species of Lepanthes are mostly characterized by a high degree of endemism...


Diego and Italian student Chiara Montagnani checking
the single tree where L. tapantiensis and L. tristis were found.
©F. Pupulin

 
Paphiopedilum Subgenus Megastaminodium Braem & Gruss, a New Subgenus to Accommodate Paphiopedilum canhii
Guido J. Braem & Olaf Gruss
4 pages, 13 photos



Paph. canhii in situ
©C. X. Canh

When the first pictures of Paphiopedilum canhii appeared, questions were raised as to what this extraordinary, exotic plant could possibly be. Its general appearance was so extremely out of the “normal” that quite a few slipper orchid growers were suspicious that it might well be a man-made hybrid.  The original description by Averyanov et al. (2010) left questions to be answered. For one, no evidence was given as to whether the plant was actually collected in the wild. Secondly, the authors themselves stated that “at first glance, the plant resembles a natural hybrid.” In the meantime, plenty of evidence has become available to support the claim that Paph. canhii, though very strange, is an autonomous species...

 
Dendrobium dickasonii
Roland Schettler
2 pages, 3 photos

During the years of collecting dendrobiums, I have found orange-colored dendrobiums facinating. Dendrobium unicum from Thailand is the best known species of this color. But there are some orange-flowering species in cultivation which differ from Dendrobium unicum. During the World Orchid Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2002, I saw Dendrobium dickasonii for the first time in flower. But as we left the show before breakdown, I was not able to ask the owner for a cutting of it. It was even difficult to get CITES paper-work to bring back a single plant to Europe...



Dendrobium dickasonii
©Roland Schettler

 
Eria lasiopetala (Willdenow) P. Ormerod
A Species Wearing Many Hats
Rudolf Jenny
6 pages, 11 images


Plate of Dendrobium pubescens Hooker from Flora Exotica, 1825.

The larger the distribution area of an orchid species, the greater the variability, and the greater the number of synonyms the orchid has. Eria lasiopetala is a very good example. The species is found from the Himalayas through China to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Java, and Sumatra, at altitudes between 1300 and 2100 m (4300-7000 feet). Seidenfaden wrote in 1982 in Opera Botanica “Study of herbarium material and living plants seems to make it clear that the vegetative characters are useless in classification, there seems to be an immense variability in size and shape of the pseudobulbs, practically no two plants are quite alike.” The study of the plant architecture and morphology of these species by T. F. Anderson and all published in Lindleyana 1988 basically supported these same conclusions...

 
The Orchids of Crete and Their Conservation
Julia Jones and Dr. Rosemary John
8 pages, 17 images


The Greek island of Crete is botanically very rich, with a wide variety of habitats and a high level of endemism (approximately nine percent). However, conservation both of habitats and species has a low priority, especially in the current economic climate. Many orchid-rich meadows, particularly in coastal areas, are being destroyed for building purposes, in response to the demand for property by Russian and Middle-Eastern developers...


Ophrys kotschyi ssp. cretica (synonym Ophrys cretica ssp. cretica), an endemic orchid.
©Ron Parsons