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Excerpts from

VOLUME 77, NO. 2—April, May, June 2014


Chinese Paphiopedilum micranthum and Its Hybrids
Olaf Gruss and Helmut Rohrl
19 pages, 62 photos

Paphiopedilum micranthum

Paphiopedilum micranthum ‘Wössen’
©Olaf Gruss

Paphiopedilum micranthum Tang & Wang 1951
In Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica 1:56 (1951)

Paphiopedilum globulosum Z. J. Liu & S. C. Chen, Acta Phytotax. Sin 40:366 (2002)
Paphiopedilum micranthum var.  extendatum Fowlie, Orchid Digest 57(4): 186; (1993)
Paphiopedilum micranthum var. marginatum Fowlie, Orchid Digest 57(4): 186 (1993)
Paphiopedilum micranthum var. oblatum Z. J. Liu & J. Yong Zhang, Acta Phtotax. Sin 40:369 (2002)

Geographical Distribution: The plants occur in a mountainous region at an altitude of approximately 600 – 1400 m (1200 – 4200 feet) slightly below the habitat of malipoense in Funing, Si Chou and Malipo in the south-eastern part of the province Yunnan near the border with Vietnam. It is also found near Wan Shan growing lithophytically in a region that was deforested a long time ago and is now covered with brush.
Northern Vietnam — Cao Bang, Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang Provinces.

Habitat: The plants grow in primary evergreen and mixed, rather open, mossy, wet forests on very steep slopes and cliffs of limestone rocks and in brush covered areas long ago cleared of trees, in shallow, well-drained mossy detritus pockets in limestone...

From the Galápagos Islands to Genera Orchidacearum
Part Two: Willi Hennig, DNA Sequencing, and Orchid Classification
Alec Pridgeon
11 pages, 13 images

Two of the discoverers of the structure of DNA.James Watson (1928- ) at left and Francis Crick (1916-2004), with their model of part of a DNA molecule in 1953.
©Science Photo Library

In the previous installment of the series, we looked at the intertwined fates of Robert FitzRoy, Charles Darwin, and Alfred Russel Wallace, culminating in publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859 and subsequent editions. In this article, I will try to relay how the Origin morphed into modern evolutionary theory and specifically orchid phylogenetics as practiced today and also address the questions that many readers may be asking: How do we generate those phylogenetic trees from DNA sequences that form the basis for taxonomic decisions? How are the trees interpreted? Why should we trust those particular trees in the first place?...

Paphiopedilum canhii in Laos Phou Phachao Mountain – Mountain of Paphiopedilum canhii
Leonid V. Averyanov, Khang Nguyen Sinh, Tien Hiep Nguyen, The Van Pham,
Shengvilai Lorphengsy
6 pages, 36 photos

Locations of discovered populations of Paphiopedilum canhii in northern Indochina.

Rocky limestone areas of mainland south-east Asia conceal the highest world diversity of strictly endemic Paphiopedilum species relatively well studied in China, Vietnam and Thailand. At least 22 slipper orchid species, with very limited distribution, were discovered here during the last two decades (Averyanov et al., 2003b; Averyanov, 2008; Cribb, 2008, 2011; Liu Zhongjian et al., 2009; Liu Xhong-Jian et al., 2009). Meanwhile, the central part of the Indochinese peninsula, and particularly the territory of Laos, contain the largest part of the Indochinese limestone belt (Rundel, 1999; Kiernan, 2009) which remains poorly known at present. These inaccessible areas, undoubtedly, are home for numerous unknown plant species, particularly for strictly endemic orchids. This habitat type is recognized in better studied neighbouring countries as being particularly rich in endemic plants (Shui, Chen, 2006), especially in orchids (Averyanov et al., 2003a). As a result, it is not surprising when each field exploration in previously unstudied rocky limestone massifs in Laos bring new and often exciting discoveries. One of such outstanding recent novelties in the flora of Laos is Paphiopedilum canhii...

In the Spotlight: Dendrobium Section Dolichocentrum
Jim Cootes and George Tiong
4 pages, 13 photos

D. auriculatum in situ (Samar)
©Ronny Boos

Some of the most beautiful of all Dendrobium species belong to the small section Dolichocentrum. Dr. Rudolf Schlechter established this section in 1911, in Orchidaceae of Celebes, which was published in F. Fedde’s Reportorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis. The sectional name refers to the long mentum (spur) seen on the flowers. This section is related to sections Calcarifera, Platycaulon, and Pedilonum and in the past some taxonomists have combined all four sections into a very broadly defined section Pedilonum.

The type species for the section is Dendrobium furcatum Reinwardt ex Lindl. 1859. There are only five species in the section, and they are found in Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) and the Philippines, the latter of which appears to be the center of distribution with three endemic species. All five species are discussed in this article...


The Enigmatic (?) Case of the Most Beautiful
Phragmipedium popowii

Prof. Dr. Guido J. Braem
7 pages, 11 photos

Phragmipedium caudatum
©Robert-Jan Quené, Orchids Limited

In a detailed article back in 2004, Braem, Öhlund and Quené clarified the taxonomic situation around the Phragmipedium caudatum complex, popularly referred to as the “long-petaled phragmipediums.” At least we thought we had clarified the issue as, for this publication, we had gone back to the original literature, including the article written in German by Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach, in our circles usually referred to as Reichenbach fil. In that article, we came to the conclusion that the group comprised five valid species being (in alphabetical order): Phragmipedium caudatum (Lindley) Rolfe (1896), Phragmipedium exstaminodium Castaño, Hágsater & Aguirre (1984), Phragmipedium lindenii (Lindley) Dressler & N.H. Williams (1975), Phragmipedium popowii Braem, Öhlund & Quené (2004), and Phragmipedium warszewiczianum (Reichenbach fil.) Garay (1979). This decision was also a confirmation of the article of Braem & Öhlund (2004) in which we showed that “Cypripedium humboldtii” (as “Humboldti”) had never been published, and that in consequence, Phragmipedium humboldtii, as published by Atwood & Dressler in 1998, was based on a linguistic misunderstanding and had to be reduced to a nomen illegitimum.

It did not take long for criticism to surface. Robert L. Dressler, one of the most revered orchid taxonomists, has hitherto not been willing to accept that he and his co-author Atwood, both having no language comprehension in respect to German, have made a mistake, and the late Eric Christenson dug up an alleged Selenipedium warszewiczii from Reichenbach fil. which he transferred to the genus Phragmipedium (Christenson 2006). A confused lecture by Quené for the British Paphiopedilum Society brought further chaos. In the meantime, Dressler valiantly defended “his” Phragmipedium humboldtii in various articles (Dressler 2005, Populin & Dressler 2011, Populin & Dressler 2012), and from Mexico came an elaborate article dealing with Phragmipedium warszewiczii (Reichenbach fil.) Christenson (Solano-Gómez & Martínez-Ovando 2011)...