Section Polyantha

This section involves the Section Pardalopetalum (Hallier) of the Pfitzer classification, (5) the name derived from the Greek word 'pardalis' meaning 'leopard' describing the distinctive spotted petals of the plants of this group. (91) As compared with the previous groups the flowers of these plants show petals with large blotches of pigment. The leaves are clear green in colour and strap like. Many flowered inflorescences are produced, the individual flowers of which all open at the same time.

Cribb 105 places Paphiopedilums haynaldianum, lowii and parishii in the Section Pardalopetalum under his classification. All these species have a chromosome complement of 2n = 26 105

3 species are included:-






Paphiopedilum lynniae


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This terrestrial orchid can grow over one metre tall. 6 leaves per growth are usually produced, 350 mm long and 45 mm wide. A 3 to 6 flowered inflorescence is seen, 500 to 750 mm long. Each f lower is 75 to 100 broad, the dorsal sepal yellowish green with large brown spots along the veins. The synsepalum is white with pale green venation. Petals are yellowish-green with 8 to 10 dark brown spots at the base, the top half purple. The lip is pale greenish, tinged purple- brown. (8)

It was introduced into European cultivation by James Veitch and Sons in 1873, being discovered by Gustav Wallis near Manila in the Philippines. It was named in honour of Cardinal Haynald, Archbishop of Kaloesa, Hungary, ‘a zealous botanist and an active promoter of science and art, and whose name will ever be honourably connected with the development of Hungary.’(4)

Requiring intermediate, not cool, conditions, it flowers from July through to September (southern Hemisphere equivalent months), after a rest period in June when water should be withheld. Also night temperatures should be provided 8 to 10 degrees celsius lower than those experienced during summer nights. (3)

Native of the Philippines, it is widely distributed on limestone hills from sea level to 1000 metres altitude. (8) There the cool winter rnonsoon occurs in June and July, a period of heavy rainfall in short frequent bursts. In August it reduces, with September and October comparatively clear (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months). October is the hottest month. Rainfall again increases during November/December, with heavy rains peaking in February/March. April and May are cooler, with lighter rainfall. From January to March typhoons are frequent. Day and night temperatures average 30 degrees celsius and 20 degrees celsius during the summer, and 20 and 7 degrees celsius respectively in the winter. (3)

Schaffer (9) notes 12 primaries have been registered up to 1976, with 4 receiving awards, but only one is ‘recent' - P. Bengal Lancers. (24)

Levy 115 shows a very reflexed boldly spotted dorsal spatulate spotted petals and helmet shaped punch. It has produced some important hybrids.


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This is one of the few truly epiphytic paphiopedilums. Growing. up to one metre tall, its dark green rather leathery leaves are 300 mm long, 40 mm wide. Usually 2 to 5, but sometimes up to 10, flowers are produced on an inflorescence 600 to 1000 mm tall, each flower of which is 100 to 140 mm broad. The dorsal sepal is yellowish-green with a purple-brown suffusion and radiating lines at the base. The petals are greenish-yellow at the base, with dark brown markings, and some purple flush on their tips. The lip is greenish with brown markings. Growing as an epiphyte on large trees in Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes and Java, it was discovered in 1846 in Sarawak, North-West Borneo, by Sir Hugh Low, and was named in his honour. (8) It has the most widespread distribution of the multiflowered species. 105 It grows naturally between 250 to 1600 metres altitude. 105

It flowers in October to December (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months) after a brief winter rest. It grows naturally in thick mats of moss and leaf humus as an epiphyte on trees, or on rocks. It prefers bright situations near water, or in heavy rainfall habitats. The habitat is characterised by some seasonally. The winter monsoon of some 5 to 6 months duration is cool and drier, but still with days of heavy rainfall. The temperatures range from 19 degrees celsius to 12 degrees celsius. The 5 to 6 month long summer monsoon is a period of high humidity, heavy and prolonged rainfall, with a temperature range of 29 degrees celsius to 17.5 degrees celsius. (8)

Schaffer (9) notes 24 primaries have been registered to 1976. Only 4 have been awarded, and only one of these is 'recent'.

In 1987 some plants were collected by Mr Carl Bundt in Palu, Salawesi growing between 1100 to 1200 metres elevation. They were collected from open grassland subjected to full sun. Temperatures varied from 16 degrees celsius to 30 degrees celsius, in a site with an annual rainfall of 250 cm per year. Plants are said to flower during February May and November, producing five flowers per inflorescence. They appeared to receive a dry rest October and November. 114 Koopowitz 112 believes these smaller plants are distinct but fall within the Paphiopedilum lowii range of variation, and should be identified as Paphiopedilum lowii var richardianum. Asher and Beaman have discussed P. richardianum and its affinity with other members of the group, reinforcing their views on its specific rank together with its relationship with closely related species. Their article 118 makes interesting reading.

Paphiopedilum lowii has a dorsal that appears narrow but is reflexed and has no spotting. The ends of the petals are light ranging to deep magenta. Some breeding has used this species.

Koopowitz 132 discusses albinism in orchids and the var. P. lowii var. aureum, the golden form of this species.

Paphiopedilum lynniae Garay was considered a variety of lowii although Koopowitz 153 believes it can be listed separately although its similarity to lowii cannot be avoided.

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There has been some confusion regarding the naming of this species. Paphiopedilum markianum has been applied, but P. tigrinum was validly published much earlier and therefore applies.

Fowlie formally described this species as P. markianum 129, noting it grows as an epiphyte, but with little other information.

Braem discusses issues regarding the naming of this species. 139 and there is obviously still disagreement regarding the correct naming.


Originally Koopowitz 153 considered this a variety of Paphiopedilum lowii, but now beleives it is dinctive enough to be recognised as a valid species.

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