Orchid (Paphiopedilum delenatii)

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Paphiopedilum delenatii
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Orchid fact file

Orchid description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderOrchidales
FamilyOrchidaceae (1)
GenusPaphiopedilum

This rare South East Asian orchid was thought to be extinct in the wild until it was rediscovered in the 1990s (4). It is a terrestrial orchid that occurs in clusters; plants have mottled dark green leaves, which are marked with purple spots on the underside (2). The flower stalk (inflorescence) bears a single pink flower with broad petals (2).

Size
Leaf width: 3 - 3.9 cm (2)
Leaf length: up to 11cm (2)
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Orchid biology

These orchids grow on the ground with their roots attached to rocks or in thin sandy soils; they produce their stunning flowers in January (2).

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Orchid range

Endemic to Vietnam in South East Asia, the recent discovery of wild populations has occurred in the Bi Dup mountain system in the south of the country (4).

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Orchid habitat

Found growing in shaded crevices on south or southeast-facing slopes of granite mountains, in montane rainforest (2). Known sites occur between 800 and 1,300 metres above sea level (2).

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Orchid status

Listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

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Orchid threats

The rediscovery of this species in the wild was heralded by the sudden appearance of vast numbers on the international orchid market; around 6 tons of living plants were exported to Taiwan between 1990 and 1991 (4). This large-scale collection is one of the causes of the precarious state of wild populations today; previous declines were also due to the loss of primary rainforest as deforestation swept through the region (4).

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Orchid conservation

Paphiopedilum delenatii is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3), but despite these restrictions plants continue to be illegally exported to supply the orchid collection market (4). Recent success in the cultivation of this highly attractive species has meant that it is now fairly widespread in cultivation (2). The wild plants that survive today are mainly located in inaccessible cliffs and it may be that these locations will serve to protect this species for the future (4).

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Authentication

Authenticated (5/6/03) by Dr Phillip Cribb. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of the plant, which bears flowers (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure).
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2003) www.redlist.org
  2. Cribb, P. (1998) The Genus Paphiopedilum. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  3. CITES (April, 2003) www.cites.org
  4. Averyanov, L.V. et al. (1996) Endangered Vietnamese Paphiopedilums, part 2. Orchids, 65 (12): 1302-1308.
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Image credit

Paphiopedilum delenatii  
Paphiopedilum delenatii

© Phillip J. Cribb / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 3AB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 332 5000
Fax: +44 (0) 208 332 5197
info@kew.org
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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