Section Mystropetalum Pfitz

Asher notes that these plants are known as the ‘spoon petalled' paphiopedilums because the tips of the petals are hollowed into tiny teaspoon like shapes. Again, multi flowered scapes are produced, from plants with plain green leaves. (5)

Cribb 105 includes these in his section Pardalopetalum with Paphiopedlium haynaldianum and lowii

2 species are included:-




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Discovered in 1940 in the south west of the Yunnan Province of China, it is closely related to Paphiopedilum parishii and Cribb 105 believes this is only a variety of that species, although has subsequently agrees that separate species rank is appropriate. 153 Fowlie (5) states that the easiest way of distinguishing these two species is the smooth ovary of this species. Cribb and Tang (7) have suggested that this is only a variety of P. parishii.

Mark 122 note this is a territorial species growing naturally ion rocky limestone bluffs and only occasionally grows as an epiphyte on trees.

For registration and horticultural purposes, this species is considered a variety of P. parishii, that name being recommended for these plants. (27)

In China this species is reported to grow on rocks at an altitude of some 1500 metres altitude. 116

Fowlie 146 notes the name ‘dianthum’ means ‘two flowered’ paphiopedilum. The plant grows on rocky outcrops on cliffs shrouded on mist but protected from the icy winter winds. Usually it sprouts on twisted roots of shrubs or in moss on stones, only occasionally escaping to shrubs or low trees.


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Another of the truly epiphytic paphiopedilums it grows up to 700 mm tall. The bright glossy green leaves are up to 400 mm long, 65 mm wide. The 4 to 8 flowered inflorescence is up to 600 mm long. Flowers are up to 75 mm across, the dorsal sepal pale yellow with green veins. The petals are green on their basal half showing a few scattered black spots. The tip portions are blackish-purple with a pale margin. The lip is deep green, shaded brown-purple. Native of Burma, Thailand and Yunnan China, it grows epiphytically on large trees amongst birds nests ferns and occasionally on the bases of these ferns. (8)

This species was discovered by the Reverend C. Parish in the Moulmein District of Burma in 1859. Rediscovered by him again in 1866, a drawing and dried flowers were sent to Kew Gardens UK, where it was named after its discoverer. Living plants where introduced into European cultivation by the English nursery of Messrs Low and Co in 1868. (4)

December and January flowering, it needs a rest in June and July for successful bud initiation. It is usually found some 2 to 5 metres above ground level in trees in cast facing (shaded) slopes at an elevation of 1000 to 1400 metres above sea level. It requires intermediate conditions in low light situations. It grows into a large plant, and needs high humidity for all of the year. Its natural habitat experiences a dry winter monsoon from May to November, with fogs and dryness but with only infrequent showers occurring. June is the coldest month, with a temperature range of 25 degrees celsius during the day and 4 degrees celsius at night. By September (southern Hemisphere equivalent months) it warms up, with October the warmest month, day and night temperatures of 32 and 15.5 degrees celsius respectively being experienced. The wet summer monsoon with heavy rains occurs from November to April, with December and January being the wettest. Humidity remains high all the year, and the completely dries out. (3)

Van Delden (24) discusses hybridising with this species.

Schaffer (9) notes 9 primaries have been registered up to 1976, only one of which has received an award, and this was 'recent.'

Moir 116 states this species is now found inside south west China. There it grows as an epiphyte in a tree trunk crotch in both bright and shaded locations.

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Site established 9th May 1998
Paphiopedilum series first uploaded 8th December 1999