SECTION PUNCTATUM Karasawa and Saito

A section with a single species.




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.


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A section comprising this single species. It grows up to 400 mm tall, its leaves 200 mm long and 50 mm broad, pale and dark green mottled. The single flowered inflorescence grows up to 380 mm tall. The flower shows a pinkish- white dorsal sepal, lined with green and dark purple. The petals are pale green with darker green veins, and are sometimes stained dull purple. The lip is dull green, tinged brown and crimson. (8)

The species was first described in 1883, from plants collected in Sumatra by Charles Curtis for the British firm of Veitch and Sons. The specific name 'tonsum' - meaning shorn - refers to the absence of black marginal hairs that fringe the petals of many closely related species. (4)

It is native of the western slopes of the Borisan Mountains of Sumatra, Indonesia, growing in leafy humus on the forest floor or in humus filled cracks in limestone rocks on cliffs. It lives at an altitude of some 750 to 1200 metres under a cover of forest trees in moderately bright conditions. (3)

It is September to November flowering (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months), requiring a short winter rest, and needs intermediate temperatures to be maintained in the glasshouse.

Fowlie (38) describes the habitat. The area contains high mountains which are some 2700 metres high, between which are lower hills of 900 to 1200 metres altitude. P. tonsum grows on the upper slopes of the lower hills. The area was very humid, the thick vegetation restricting air movement. There was a thick layer of humus, in some cases over 600 mm deep with P. tonsum growing in this in huge clumps.

Fowlie 140 discusses Paphiopedilum braemii, named in honour of Dr Guildo Braem. This plant is related to P. tonsum, but is said to shoe important differences, the overall size of the flower, the lateral petals more drooping, a smaller labellum and differences in the size and shape of the staminode. First collected in 1989, it was found in extreme north western Sumatra. Koopowitz 112 states this is a ‘small P. tonsum and therefore treats it only as a variety P. tonsum var. braemii. In his latser review Koopowitz 153 states that while he consideres the two plants to be very close, now believes that it " is sensible to treat this as a separate species. It is regarded as a distinctive plant with green flowers. 153

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