Orchid (Phragmipedium besseae)

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Phragmipedium besseae flower
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Orchid fact file

Orchid description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderOrchidales
FamilyOrchidaceae
GenusPhragmipedium (1)

The recently discovered orchid Phragmipedium besseae boasts spectacular and instantly recognisable flowers, which are bright scarlet-orange in colour (4).

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Orchid biology

Phragmipedium besseae is a terrestrial orchid, which grows on moss-covered rocks. Groups may be in bloom for much of the year due to the repeated nature of flowering (4).

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Orchid range

Endemic to Ecuador and Peru in South America (4), populations in Peru are now believed to be extinct (2).

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Orchid habitat

The most recently reported site occurred in montane forest at around 2,000 metres above sea level (4).

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Orchid status

Classified as Vulnerable on the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants (2), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

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Orchid threats

Orchids in this region are under threat from the continued destruction of their native habitat (4). These highly attractive flowers are also in commercial demand and over-collection has driven many populations to the brink of extinction (4).

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Orchid conservation

Phragmipedium besseae is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which bans trade in wild-collected plants (3). The protection of remaining habitat will be the key to securing its future in the wild.

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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.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2003) www.redlist.org
  2. Walter, K.S. & Gillett, H.J. [eds] (1998) 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Center. IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
  3. CITES (April, 2003) www.cites.org
  4. Oakeley, H. (2001) Ecuador revisited: Phragmipedium bessae, and other orchids, at home. Orchid Review, 109 (1240): 245 - 247.
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Image credit

Phragmipedium besseae flower  
Phragmipedium besseae flower

© 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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