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Excerpts from

VOLUME 81, NO. 1—January, February, March 2017


Evolution of the Slipper Orchids
Harold Koopowitz
12 page, 11 photos, 5 diagrams

High magnification of mimics on the petals of
Paphiopedilum viniferum.
©Harold Koopowitz

The first attempts to produce an evolutionary history (phylogeny) of the slipper orchids were based on the form and structure of plants (morphology), but unfortunately, morphological relatedness is often obscured by the similarity of form or structure caused by environment rather than heredity (convergences) and parallelisms that are not always closely aligned to the evolutionary history of the groups. Perhaps the most important of these early studies was that of Atwood (1984). However, over the last several decades enough analysis using DNA (molecular phylogenies) have been published so that Atwood’s ideas have been substantially revised in the face of new molecular evidence, and this new evidence has generated new phylogenies. Some of Atwood’s ideas, however, have stood the test of time. We can now make educated guesses about the relationships of the main orchid evolutionary branches (clades) and their evolution. There is a consensus that the orchids first appeared sometime during the late Cretaceous, between 70 to 80 million years ago (Gustafsson et al., 2010) or even as early as 90 million years ago (Givnish et al., 2015), and that the orchid ancestors were most likely, closely related to Asparagus (asparagoid) monocots such as the Hypoxidaceae (Chase et al., 2003). Here I discuss the evolution of the slipper orchids (Cypripedioideae) and their relationships with earlier clades and the evolution leading to and within the current cypripedioid genera....


The Development of Phalaenopsis Orchid Industry in Taiwan
Wen-Huei Chen
6 pages, 14 photos

Phalaenopsis aphrodite
©Eric Hunt

Orchids are well-known for their amazing flowers and other reproductive and ecological adaptations. The orchid production in the world has increased 12% to 18% every year since 2000. Phalaenopsis are the main flower in the world market. The Taiwan phalaenopsis industry has been recognized by the international community as a prosperous one regarding sales volume, the acreage of plantation, cultivation, and breeding advantages. The efforts of the orchid growers, the government, and academia since 1990 have managed the industry to achieve stable growth despite the global economic recession...

Neocogniauxia Monophylla
Roland Schettler
2 pages, 1 photo, 2 illustrations

Neocogniauxia monophylla
©Curtis Botanical Magazine Vol.109
plate 6683

When I think about jamaica, I think about reggae but seldom about orchids, and more seldom about really spectacular orchids. Many years ago I came across Neocogniauxia monophylla and I was fascinated about its color, texture, and shape.
Neocogniauxia monophylla is endemic to Jamaica in elevations around 800 meters (2500 feet) in light, highland rainforests. It grows as an epiphyte on small branches which are covered with moss and lichen. Plants grow in habitats with almost always very wet conditions and very seldom dry conditions for short periods of time. There is a second one from Hispaniola called Neocogniauxia hexaptera that occurs at elevations of 1000 meters (3300 feet)...

The Role of Color in Orchids
Carol Siegel
17 pages, 29 photos, 2 charts

Satyrium bracteatum flowers attract fly pollinators.
©Lourens Grobler

One of the most breathtaking moments in cinematic history is when a sepia-colored Dorothy walks out of her door into the bright, vibrant Technicolor world of Oz. Produced in 1939, The Wizard of Oz delighted Depression-era audiences with the novelty of the richly saturated colors of the yellow brick road, the ruby slippers, and the Emerald City. Filmed with a specially modified motion picture camera which recorded the same scene through red-, blue-, and green-colored filters on three different strips of film, the novel process merged all three to make the final dazzling movie. Just as in the film, color adds unbelievable beauty and pleasure to our everyday world. It is hard to imagine a world without color.

For the lover of orchids, the magnificent colors enrich our experience of the world. Even the most casual admirer of orchids is struck by their endless array of beautiful colors and color combinations. Although we flatter ourselves to think they were put here solely for our pleasure, there is much more to orchid color than human pleasure. Their gorgeous colors have a purpose, most often luring a pollinator to stop and visit and ensure the next generation, but they also do much more. Join me as we explore the complex and fascinating role of color in orchids...

Paphiopedilum argus and Paphiopedilum parnatanum:
Two Distinct Species
William Cavestro, Olaf Gruss, and Harold Koopowitz
4 pages, 6 photos

Paph. argus

In 2015, W. Suarez published the combination of Paphiopedilum parnatanum as a variety of Paph. argus in the German review Orchideen Journal (Suarez et al., 2015: 60-69). He justified this new combination by the great similarity of the staminodiums and flower segments, as well as the overlap and localization of habitats. Guido Braem went even further and mentioned Paph. parnatanum in his e-book The Genus Paphiopedilum of February 15, 2014, only as a synonym of Paph. argus but under the name Paph. usitanum.

In both cases, it appears that the classification was done on the basis of a lack of plant material and knowledge because the differences between the two species are quite obvious.


From Peter O’Byrne: Weird, Unusual, and Little-Known Orchid Species: Dendrobium roslii
Orchid Notes & Diagrams
2 pages, 2 photos, 1 Illustration

Young flower of Dendorium roslii.
©Peter O’Byrne

Dendrobium roslii P. O’Byrne

Described in Malesian Orchid Journal 6: 71-78, (2010)

Section Calcarifera

Distribution: Peninsular Malaysia, Terengganu State, 250-300 m.

This species was discovered in 2005 by Rosli Zakaria, a Malaysian amateur orchid enthusiast. It was growing on the branches of trees a short distance below a large waterfall that is a popular tourist destination. The floral segments are white to yellow at the base, initially graduating to lime-green at the apex, but after three to four days, the green colour changes to lemon-yellow...