Asher (5) notes the plants included in the Section Blepharopetalum of Pfitzer's classification are characterised by the petals which bear marginal hairs, which often resemble human eye lashes, this providing the Greek name 'blepharis', or 'eye lash' (91). The petals are not dilated at their tips, and do not show warts along their edges. When warts are present on the petals they are usually not raised. The plant foliage is slightly to distinctly tessellate. Karasawa and Saito have divided the section further listing Pfitzer's species also under the Section Punctatum, Section Barbata, subsections Chloroneura and Lorapetalum, and Section Planipetalum.
Cribb 105 places these plants in his Subgenus Paphiopedilum Section Barbata. He places 24 species in this section, distinguished usually by one flowered inflorescences and tessellated leaves. Chromosome numbers vary from 2n = 28-34.
CLICK ON NAME TO GO DIRECT TO MAIN ENTRY,
This species is illustrated by Asher.(5) It was introduced by Wentworth in 1967, after its discovery at Kieta, Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands and was described by Fowlie in 1971. Appreciating intermediate to warm conditions, it flowers in November to December and again in April to June, after a brief winter rest. It likes low light intensifies. (3)
It grows in deep forest, low down as an epiphyte on trees, its roots imbedded in thick mosses, at an altitude of 800 to 1100 metres above sea level. Its natural habitat is continually moist, the seasons primarily marked by variations in rainfall. The 'dry' season comes with the south east monsoon from December to March when there is intermittent but heavy rainfall. The north west monsoon brings heavy rains with cloudy conditions for most of the balance of the year. Diurnal summer temperatures average 28 to 19 degrees celsius, with winters 3 to 5 degrees celsius less. Because of the high level of watering required, an open mix is necessary, but with some moss to ensure moisture is always present. It needs high humidity all the year, and good air movement. (3) The Handbook of Orchid Nomenclature and Registration (27) notes that it considers this species is only a synonym of P. violascens. Registrations have been accepted under this name, but are no longer allowed. Cribb 105 notes that while it may only be a variety of P. violascens, its distinct features and geographic separation from that species lead him to list it as a separate species. He does note, however, that greater botanical knowledge of the natural habitats of these plants may eventually lead to a differing conclusion.
Koopowitz 112 considers this to be only a pale form of P. violascens despite differing chromosome numbers. See also 153
Return to top
P. zieckianum was collected in 1961 by F.U. Zieck, Luytyes and Vink in west New Guinea but Cribb 105 believes it is identical to P. papuanum, and there now seems to be general agreement on this 153
Return to top
This is a terrestrial plant, producing 4 to 6 spreading leaves 130 to 210 mm long, 25 to 40 mm wide. These are tessellated grey-green on a darker green background. The erect inflorescence, up to 300 mm long, is single flowered, the flowers 60 to 70 mm across vertically. The dorsal sepal is white or pinkish, longitudinally striped with magenta, green or dark purple. The synsepalum is paler than the dorsal sepal. The petals are white and purple at their base, veined with purple. The shiny lip is brown and olive-green. Native of New Guinea and adjacent Islands and Bougainville of the Soloman Islands, it was described in 1914 from a plant collected in 1908 in the Firusterre Islands, at an altitude of 1200 metres. (8)
The species flowers in November and December (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months) and again April to June, after a brief rest. It prefers well shaded positions. It is reported to grow in humus pads with rnosses, on trees, or in niches and crevices on calcareous rocks, sometimes in little shade. It is also found in acid pockets in soils in light riverine forests in almost complete shade. It often grows in deep humus, often with well developed runners. (3)
Its native habitat is constantly wet, either from rainfall or heavy dews, and low clouds. The seasonality is marked by rainfall variations, the day/night ratio remaining virtually constant because of the location close to the equator. The summer south cast monsoon starts in December and lasts to March, with frequent but intermittent rainfall. Heavier rains arrive with the north west monsoon. Heavy clouds cover the sky, with humidity always around 80%. Temperatures in the daytime during the summer average 29 degrees celsius, and at night drop to about 20 degrees celsius. Winter temperatures are 3 to 5 degrees celsius lower. (3)
Birk notes this species is not tolerant of salts in the growing media, nor is it able to survive decomposed growing mixes. It needs large particles of bark to allow air to circulate around the roots, and moss to retain moisture. Plants from different habitats can show variation. (3)
Asher (5) notes this is a rare species, with no primary hybrids registered to 1976 P. bouginvilleanun and P. papuanum are shown as synonyms of this species in the Handbook of Orchid Nomenclature and Registration. (27)
Cribb 105 notes it grows from 200 to 1200 metres altitude in New Guinea and adjacent islands near the coast.
The var. saskininum from the island of Malaita in the Solomons differs only slightly from the species. 153
Braem 134 described a new species found in North Salawesi in the Celebes. Named after the original collector Mr Helmut Sang in 1987iot was noted as being related to Paphiopedlium papuanum and P. violascens, although Koopowitz 112 notes the original diagnosis was incorrect, although has subsequently acknowledged an error 153. Braem 134 provides a photograph and description.
Growing under moist situations, all these plants require frequent watering, an open mix for free drainage, but one which retains some moisture at all times. This is achieved by the inclusion of moss or similar material in the potting media. They require intermediate to warm conditions, and heavy watering all year, but especially during the period of maximum summer vegetative growth.
growing orchids is all about enjoying your plants
and sharing your growing success with friends and family.
Good luck and good growing.
Site established 9th May 1998
Paphiopedilum series first uploaded 8th December 1999