Section Planipetalum Karasawa and Saito

This is a section containing but a single species, which Pfitzer included in his Blepharopetalum Section. (9) 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.



This species grows terrestrially up to 290 mm tall. The mottled leaves are 125 mm long and 40 mm broad. The single f lowered inflorescence grows up to 180 mm tall. Flowers are 75 to 85 mm long, the dorsal sepal white with a central greenish stain and 8 to 10 curved purple-brown stripes. The synsepalum is greenish. Petals are purple-crimson with deep purple or green veins, their bases covered with numerous small black warts. The lip is brownish-purple with deeper purple veins, the side lobes purple with numerous small warts. (8)

This was the third paphiopedilum species introduced into European cultivation (8) in about 1836, by J. Knight of the Royal Exotic Nursery. He recorded no information as to its origin.

It is known from Hong Kong and Guangdong Province of China (3). Cribb and Tang (7) state it is the best known of all Chinese species. It now only precariously survives in nature in a few localities in Hong Kong and the New Territories. In Guangdong Province of China it occurs on the islands and in the mountains near the coast to the south of Hong Kong.

It naturally grows on north and north west facing slopes (the dark side) exposed to the cold dry winds from the north, on wooded slopes near streams. It grows at the bases of tall trees, with its roots imbedded in thick pads of leafy humus. It is also found on stream banks in bamboo thickets or on rock faces in moss. Its habitat ranges in altitude from 30 to 600 metres above sea level. (3)

It blooms in April to June (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months) after a winter rest. It appreciates intermediate temperatures, in moderately bright light, liking hot humid summers and cool humid winters. It is an easy species to grow and flower according to Birk. (3)

Its natural habitat is exposed to a cool dry north east monsoon during the winter which starts in late March (southern Hemisphere equivalent months) and lasts until the middle of October, a period when there is little actual rainfall, but fogs, dews and drizzle. In November, the south west monsoon arrives with very heavy rainfall, which lasts to March. Humidity always ranges from 60 to 80 %. Summer day temperatures average 28 degrees celsius, nights 18 degrees. Winters average 20.5 degrees during the day and 4.5 degrees celsius at night. (3)

Mark describes an unusual form of this species, which entirely lacks the usual warts - named Paphiopedlium purpuratum forma aphacca. (50)

Mark 122 notes this was once a common species in China, in Canton, which also includes Hong Kong where it was originally found. It is regarded as a unique Chinese species growing on granite derived soils in contrast with the others which are from calcareous limestone based soils.

Moir 116 notes this plant was discovered in Guandon inside China in 1875 and exported to Hong Kong.

15 primaries have been registered up to 1976, 2 of which have been awarded, in 1890! (9)

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