SUBGEMUS SIGMATOPETALUM Hallier
Section Spathopetalum

Bennett notes the sectional name comes from the Greek 'spathula’, describing the flat and knife like petals of these plants.(91) Asher also describes the flowers of these plants as having knife or blade shaped petals, the ends of which are dilated. He notes the foliage is slightly or conspicuously variegated. This section has been further divided into a number of subsections.

12 species are included:-

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Subsection Macronidium Karasawa and Saito

a. PAPHIOPEDILUM HOOKERAE (Rchb.f.) Stein

b. PAPHIOPEDILUM VOLONTEANUM (Sander) Stein

Subsection Spathopetalum

a. PAPHIOPEDILUM AMABILE (Rchb.f.) Stein

b. PAPHIOPEDILUM APPLETONIANUM (Gower) Rolfe.

c. PAPHIOPEDILUM BULLENIANUM (Rchb.f.) Pfitz.

d. PAPHIOPEDILUM CELEBESENSIS Fowl. and Birk

e. PAPHIOPEDILUM JOHORENSIS Fowl. and Yap

f. PAPHIOPEDILUM ROBINSONII (Ridl.) Ridl.

g. PAPHIOPEDILUM WOLTERIANUM (Kraenzl.) Pfitz.

General

ALSO MENTIONED - there may be more than one reference

P. tortipetalum
P. tortisepalum
P. linei
P. hainanense
P. cerveranum


1 a Subsection Macronidium Karasawa and Saito

Asher notes (5) the two plants included in this subsection (which he identifies as the Section Hookerac (Fowl.) have distinctive staminodes.


a. PAPHIOPEDILUM HOOKERAE (Rchb.f.) Stein

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Hawkes (32) notes this species usually has 4 leaves 150 mm long, and 30 mm wide. The single flowered scape is 200 to 300 mm tall. Each flower is about 100 mm in diameter. The dorsal sepal is yellowish-white with a green flush towards the base and centre, the veins purplish. The petals are spoon shaped, green with blackish spots and a purple margin. The lip is brownish-purple flushed green.

The species was discovered by Sir Hugh Low in North Borneo in 1862, and was introduced into European cultivation by Messrs Low and Co. It is named in honour of Lady Hooker, wife of Sir W.J. Hooker, who for many years was the director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England. (4) For many years it was considered one of the rarest and most prized of all the paphiopedilum species.105

It is native of Sarawak, east Malaysia and Kalimantan Indonesia (Borneo), growing at 300 to 750 metres altitude, below summits of cliffs in mosses in zones of water seepages. It also grows on rocks and exposed tree roots in open shade, in continuously moist humid sites. (3)

It is September to November flowering (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months), needing a slight rest in August. It needs intermediate to warm conditions, and moderate shade. An easy species to grow and f lower, it likes moss in the mix and copious quantities of water for most of the year. Some shade brings out the beautiful leaf markings and produces a longer flower stem. It also likes good air movement and high humidity.(3).

The natural habitat was re-found in 1972 in Sarawak, Fowlie (33) discusses this in detail. Naturally coming from close to the equator, the variability of the seasonal day length is minimal. The seasonality is therefore influenced by the rainfall, which sets flower bud initiation. In the area the winter north-east monsoon occurs from April to June with heavy rainfall. July to September (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months) are drier, with convectional showers prevalent in November to January. February to March is subjected to squally conditions. Humidity is always over 85%. Birk (3) notes October is the driest and the hottest month of the year, with temperatures of 31 degrees celsius during the day and 20.5 degrees celsius at night. April May and June are the coolest, with (3) temperatures averaging 24.5 degrees celsius during the day, and 14 degrees celsius at night. (33)

For some times further plants could not be found following the 1972 collections, but in 1986 the original collector found more m plants. The new limestone habitat was at some 500 metres altitude which had been heavily eroded by heavy rainfall. The winter monsoon had dissolved the limestone into vertical ridges. P. hookerae was in deep leaf litter, the roots looks in this material. The prime habitat was on top of the ridges shaded by up to 10 metre trees, catching the morning and evening light. The summer monsoon is relatively sh ort, tapering off gradually over several months. 117

20 primaries have been registered to 1976, attracting only two old awards. (9)

Paphiopedilum volonteanum was originally described in 1890 based on a plant from Sarawak. It was classified a separate species in 1903. Over recent years with further importations, and a greater knowledge of the natural variation of P. hookerae, Cribb 105 now believes that P. volonteanum is only a variety of P. hookerae.

 

b. PAPHIOPEDILUM VOLONTEANUM (Sander) Stein

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This is a closely related species to the above, in fact confusion between these two has occurred. Paphiopedilum hookerae from the coastal regions of Borneo, was discovered in 1862, but P. volonteanum from the more inaccessible interior of the country was not found until some three decades later. It was first described in 1890 as P. hookerae var. volonteanum but was considered a 'lost' species until rediscovered in 1975. (9) The Handbook of Orchid Nomenclature and Registration (27) indicates that this species is considered only a synonym of P. hookerae.

Paphiopedilum volonteanum was originally described in 1890 based on a plant from Sarawak. It was classified a separate species in 1903. Over recent years with further importations, and a greater knowledge of the natural variation of P. hookerae, Cribb 105 now believes that P. volonteanum is only a variety of P. hookerae.

Hawkes (32) describes the mottled leaves of this species as being about 200 mm long, and 50 mm broad. The single flowered scape is up to 250 mm tall. The flowers are about 85 to 90 mm in diameter, the dorsal sepal yellow-green with slightly darker veins. The downward pointing petals are broader at their tips, twisted once, green, grading to red-rose at their tips, the upper edge showing black warts. The lip is pale green slightly suffused with rose. It is said to have narrower leaves than P. hookerae, and petals which are broader overall, and especially so at their tips. (34)

This is a rare plant. Fowlie and Lamb (34) note two of its natural habitats. The low elevation one is similar to that of P. rothschildianum. Growing at an altitude of 600 to 900 metres, the plants are rooted into leaf detritus on rocks along water seepages. Broken light was provided, with the sites exposed to good air movement. A second habitat was found at high elevations at some 1730 metres above sea level- making it one of the highest growing species outside continental Asia. Here, on old land slips and in bright light, this species makes its home, established on tightly packed clay over which lies a thick mat of humus.

This species naturally flowers in September to November (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months) after a brief winter rest with lower night temperatures and reduced watering. There is a range of habitats where this species is found, with additionally some variation in plant types, and this has raised the possibility of the division of the species by Birk. (3)

The general habitat is subjected to heavy rains from May to October (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months). June and July are the coolest months, with day and night temperatures of 24 and 12 degrees celsius. September to October is drier. October is the hottest month with temperatures averaging 28 degrees celsius during the day and 16 degrees celsius at night. November is subjected to warm moist heavy but sporadic rainfall, which continues through to early March. Late March becomes drier, with clear skies. Humidity is always high. (3)

General

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Both these species require at least intermediate temperatures, with warm moist summers especially important for optimum growth, with a brief winter rest provided. The taxonomy of this subsection is still not finalised, and further changes appear possible.

 

1b Subsection Spathopetalum

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.


a. PAPHIOPEDILUM AMABILE (Rchb.f.) Stein

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Growing over 500 mm tall, the leaves of a mature specimens of this and species are 150 mm long and 35 mm broad. The inflorescence bears one, and occasionally two flowers which are each 75 mm tall. The dorsal sepal is a delicate pale green with 15 to 17 green veins. he synsepalum is also pale green. Petals are buff and purple spotted at their bases, the tip half purple. The lip is brownish-red with darker mottling in front and greenish at its base. It was first described in 1865 after being collected near Sintaro, West Borneo in 1863-64 by botanists from the Buitenzorg (Bogor) Botanical Garden in Java. Closely related to Paphiopedilum appletenianum and P. bullenianum, it may prove, from further study, to be synonymous with the former. (8) P. amabile was collected by Hallier in 1893 in the Klamm Mountains of Borneo at 700-950 metres altitude. Cribb 105 notes that in all critical vegetative and floral features it is identical with P. bullenianum and therefore does not recognise it as a separate species. .

September to December flowering it needs a brief winter rest to flower successfully. Some warmth is required for maximum growths especially during the summer when heavy watering is appropriate. it also appreciates shaded conditions.

Native of Kalimantan, Indonesia and Sarawak, and east Malaysia (Borneo), it grows on the banks of watercourses amongst mangrove in decaying roots, its roots buried leaf mould and humus. It generally prefers deep shade. Its natural habitat is subject to heavy rain from May to early September (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months). September is drier. October is the hottest driest and sunniest month, with temperatures averaging 32 degrees celsius during the day, and 20 degrees celsius at night. Convectional rains commence in November with heavy rains later that month, and which continue until late into April. June and July are the coolest months, temperatures averaging 25.5 degrees celsius during the day, 17 degrees celsius at night. Humidity always exceeds 80%. (3)

No primaries have been registered to 1976 (9), despite this being an old species. It has been regarded as lost, and for registration purposes P. bullenianum has been used, an entirely different species according to Asher (9). Birk (3) also notes that the species grown as Paphiopedilum linii should be regarded purely as a subspecies f P. amabile, although Fowlie (35) does not agree, believing they differ in significant details. P. linii was first described in 1966 from a collection made in Sarawak. It grows in phalaenopsis like conditions in deep moss, at some 8 to 18 metres altitude where humidity always remains above 85%. Winter night temperatures average 24 degrees celsius with summer days rising to 32 degrees celsius. (35) Fowlie (90) notes the 300 to 600 mm deep beds of leaf litter had a low pH (4 to 4.5) and are always moist. The winter monsoon (May, June and July) has a night temperature of 25 to 21 degrees celsius with summer day temperatures of 35 degrees celsius. There is a weaker monsoon from November to December and a dry period from March and April in a habitat studied in Sarawak's Bako National Park. Paphiopedilum linii was described by Gustav Schoser in 1966 based on plants collected in Sarawak named after its discoverer Mrs Phyllis Sheridan-Lee (also known as Mrs Lin). Cribb believes that its characteristics fall within the degree of natural variation seen in P. bullenianum and therefore does not support its status as a separate species. .

 

 

b. PAPHIOPEDILUM APPLETONIANUM (Gower) Rolfe.

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Growing 600 mm tall, its leaves are 210 mm long and 35 mm broad on mature specimens. Flowers are 80 to 90 mm tall and 120 mm broad. The dorsal sepal is green with darker veins, the synsepalum green. The petals are bright green at their base, with small brown spots, the tips purple. The lip is purplish- brown, paler below. This species was first described in 1893, being introduced as part of a consignment of P. hookerae. It was flowered for the first time in 1893 in Europe in the collection of a Mr Appleton of Western-super-Mare, England, being named in his honour. It was originally treated as a variety of P. bullenianum, but in 1896 was raised to specific rank. 105 Bechtel Cribb and Launert state it is grown under the synonym of Paphiopedlium wolterianum (see later). (8) The third edition of the Handbook of Orchid Nomenclature and Registration states that P. wolterianum is a synonym of P. appletonianum, although both names are accepted for registration purposes.

It is July to September flowering, but can do so variably. It needs a June and July (winter) rest for flowering. It is tolerant of variable conditions of warmth, shading, and potting mixes appreciating high humidity and plenty of water during the summer growth cycle. (3)

Native of Thailand and Laos, there is winter dryness from May to October (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months), when heavy dews are the main source of water. Temperatures can drop at night to 7 degrees celsius, rising to only 18 degrees celsius during the day. Heavy rain falls from November to April. September and October are the hottest months, with high temperatures of 32 degrees celsius and lows which rarely fall below 18 degrees celsius.

7 primaries have been registered to 1976 (9), none of which have been awarded.

P. ceveranum Braem and P. hainanense Fowlie are shown as a synonums 153


c. PAPHIOPEDILUM BULLENIANUM (Rchb.f.) Pfitz.

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Cribb 105 notes Paphiopedilum bullenianum and its allies present one of the most complex taxonomic problems of the whole genus. Some 8 specific names are used for plants in this complex, these being P. amabile, P robinsonii, P. linii, P. johorense. P. celebesense, and P. tortipetalum.

P. bullenianum was described in 1865 by H.G. Reichenbach. It is a terrestrial native of Borneo, Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia, growing from sea level to some 1850 metres altitude. It chromosome count is 2n = 40. It is said to be a widespread species, growing in a range of habitats. 105

P. amabile was collected by Hallier in 1893 in the Klamm Mountains of Borneo at 700-950 metres altitude. Cribb 105 notes that in all critical vegetative and floral features it is identical with P. bullenianum.

Paphiopedilum linii was described by Gustav Schoser in 1966 based on plants collected in Sarawak named after its discoverer Mrs Phyllis Sheridan-Lee (also known as Mrs Lin). Cribb believes that its characteristics fall within the degree of natural variation seen in P. bullenianum. 105

Paphiopedilum robinsonii was first collected in 1911 in peninsular Malaysia, and again Cribb believes the said differences fall within the normally expected variation of P. bullenianum. 105

Paphiopedilum johorense was collected by Fedderison in southern peninsular Malaysia and at a lower altitude than P robinsonii. The minor differences from P. bullenianum no not justify specific rank according to Cribb. 105

The most recently collected plant of this group is P. tortipetalum from Sumatra, described in 1985 by Fowlie. Again Cribb 105 believes it fits in with they typical P. bullenianum.

Paphiopedilum celebesense (as p. celebesensis) was described by Fowlie and Birk in 1980 based on material collected in central Sulawesi. With a chromosome count of 2n = 42 and other distinguishing features, but with similarities to P. bullenianum, Cribb believes it warrants recognition as a variety of P. bullenianum 105

P. bullenianum is a terrestrial paphiopedilum grows up to 380 mm tall, its faintly mottled leaves 150 mm long, and 30 mm wide. The single inflorescence is up to 300 mm tall. Flowers are up to 70 mm in diameter. The dorsal sepal is pale green with a darker central band. The petals are greenish, bearing 3 to 4 small black warts on each margin, and with the tips showing a central flush of purple, and the edge of the tips pale yellow. The lip is purplish-red. (8)

P. bullenianum closely resembles P. appletonianum but has more mottled foliage and a deeply indented staminode. (8)

Native of North Borneo, Malaya and perhaps other islands of Indonesia (8) it grows in light shade on wet moss covered rocks around 900 metres altitude. September to October (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months) flowering, it needs a brief winter rest, and intermediate to warm growing conditions. It requires an open potting mix, with some moss, but must have free draining conditions. For its natural climate, refer to P. amabile. October temperatures experienced are reported to be 29 degrees celsius during the day and 18 degrees celsius at night, and 25.5 and 14 degrees celsius respectively during the coolest months of winter. (3)

Koopowitz 112 considers P. amabilis, P. johorense, P. linii, P. tortipetalum and P. tortisepalum are all synonyms of P. bullenianum. He notes that the possibility exists that all should be lumped with P. appletonianum

8 primaries have been registered, none of which have been awarded. (9)

d. PAPHIOPEDILUM CELEBESENSIS Fowl. and Birk

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This recently discovered species was first described in 1978. Birk (36) states it is a close ally of Paphiopedilum bullenianum. This species flower in July to September (southern Hemisphere equivalent months) after a winter rest when water is withheld and night temperatures 6 degrees celsius below those experienced during the summer given. It likes bright growing conditions, in intermediate to warm temperatures.

It is found on exposed slopes in bright sunlight, growing under a canopy of ferns. The roots where imbedded into a 150 to 300 mm layer of decaying fern leaves and other detritus. (36)

This species is native of Paloppo, Sulawesi Celebes) Indonesia, where the north west monsoon brings heavy rain from April to September. During the remainder of the year the south east monsoon brings less rainfall, which falls more irregularly. Summer temperatures average 27 degrees celsius during the day, and 20 degrees celsius at night, with winters 4 to 5 degrees celsius lower. Humidity always remains high, and the habitat is said never to dry out. (3)

Paphiopedilum celebesense (as P. celebesensis) was described by Fowlie and Birk in 1980 based on material collected in central Sulawesi. With a chromosome count of 2n = 42 and other distinguishing features, but with similarities to P. bullenianum, Cribb believes it warrants recognition as a variety of P. bullenianum. Koopowitz 153 now agrees. The name P. ceranensis has been used for plants from Ceram in the Moluccas. This name has not been validly published, and Cribb 105 believes it is this variety.

Koopowitz considers this to be P. bullenianum. 112

 

e. PAPHIOPEDILUM JOHORENSIS Fowl. and Yap

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Another similar species introduced by Fedderson in 1925, it comes from Gunong Panti and Gunong Blumut, Malaysia, with a subspecies found on Tioman Island, although Fowlie (85) has raised the possibility that that plant may be a new species. Paphiopedilum johorense was collected by Fedderison in southern peninsular Malaysia and at a lower altitude than P robinsonii. The minor differences from P. bullenianum no not justify specific rank according to Cribb. 105

It is July to November flowering (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months), requiring a June rest with minimal watering and a 6 degrees celsius temperature drop. It prefers heavy shade, and likes moss in its potting mix and free drainage to provide for the heavy watering this species needs. It is intolerant of stale root conditions, and annual repotting is recommended by Birk (3). It also needs good air circulation. The natural climate is similar to that listed for P. amabile, with summer temperatures of 27 degrees celsius during the day, and 18 degrees celsius at night, winters 19 and 12 degrees celsius respectively.(3)


f. PAPHIOPEDILUM ROBINSONII (Ridl.) Ridl.

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A further rare species of this group bearing a somewhat similar flower, it was introduced into cultivation in 1915 by Ridley. Native of Gunong Tahan, Malaysia, and probably the other near mountain tops, it grows at some 1200 to 1800 metres above sea level in continuously damp locations, slightly shaded, in deep acid beds of mosses. It likes copious water, moss in the mix, and high humidity with plenty of air movement. Intermediate growing conditions should be provided. (3)

It is September to October flowering (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months), and needs winter night temperatures 7 to 10 degrees celsius lower than those experienced during the summer nights, with water withheld in June for flower bud initiation. (3)

Its natural climate is again similar to that for P. amabile. Winter (June) temperatures of 18 degrees celsius during the day and 5.5 degrees celsius at night are experienced, with summer temperatures of 29 and 18 degrees celsius respectively. (3)

Paphiopedilum robinsonii was first collected in 1911 in peninsular Malaysia, and again Cribb believes the said differences fall within the normally expected variation of P. bullenianum. He therefore does not accept it as a separate species. Cribb 105 does suggest that perhaps P. robinsonii may be a natural hybrid between P. bullenianum and another species such as P. hookerae.

 

g. PAPHIOPEDILUM WOLTERIANUM (Kraenzl.) Pfitz.

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While this species is listed by Birk (3) and Asher (5), it is shown as a synonym of P. appletonianum (8) by Bechtel Cribb and Launert, and is treated as such in the Handbook of Orchid Nomenclature and Registration (27), although both name are accepted for registration purposes.

The species was first described by Kraenzlin in 1895, named after R. Wolter of Magdenburg. (8)

Birk (3) notes P. wolterianum flowers in July to September (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months) after a June rest period. It likes intermediate conditions. An easy species to -grow, it is tolerant of many potting mixes, temperatures and light intensifies.

It is native of South West Cambodia, and was introduced into cultivation by Kraenzlin in 1865. Its specific habitat is unknown. (3)

General

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In addition to those species listed, Birk (3) notes there are 2 more species which are not yet formally described. Paphiopedilum ceramensis from Ceram, Indonesia, often sold as P. celebesensis (syn. P. ambonensis (amboinensis)) and P. tortipetalum, ostensibly from the island of Sumatra.

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In the Orchid Digest (84) Fowlie has formally described Paphiopedilum tortipetalum Fowl. On steep sided vestigal ridges left along the stream sides after erosion are high cliffs, clothed in dense forest. Plants of this species sprout on mosses on the surface of sandstone rocks at an altitude of some 900 metres above sea level. It appears it is July to August flowering. It is the first Spathopetalum species to be found in Sumatra. Because of the peculiar sigmoidal twisting of the petals Fowlie named it P. tortipetalum. Fowlie describes leaves 80 to 140 mm long, 24 to 55 mm wide, strongly reticulated above, plain light green below, suffused red at the base. The inflorescence is 250 to 300 mm tall. Flowers show a whitish dorsal sepal with a central dark line and faint longitudinal lines. The petals are spoon shaped with 6 to 7 raised wart like spots dorsally from which occasionally spring short hairs. The petals have a distinct twist, and the tips are ornamented with a deep lavender colouration.

Fowlie (84) notes this species has affinity to P. johorensis, but shows several distinctive features

Paul Mattes (85) has collected plants on Tioman Island, off the east coast of Malaysia. These are similar to Paphiopedilum bullenianum, P. johorensis and P. tortipetalum, and Fowlie has suggested they may be a further new species from this section.

All of the species of this group have leaves which are tessellated to varying degrees.

The species of this group all come from areas with heavy rainfall and all therefore need heavy watering all year, but especially during the period of summer vegetative growth. Because of the high humidity required conditions are created where rots and diseases can readily establish and spread, and to prevent the spread of diseases good air movement is very important. Because of the moss recommended to be included in the potting mix, it is important that this is not allowed to become stale, which can easily occur with the high watering levels required, and especially so if accompanied by a high fertilising regime.

Fowlie (35) has suggested that at one time a single species of paphiopedilum of the Spathopetalum section lived on the sandstone plateaus of what is now west Malaysia and Kalimantan, when they were joined in ancient geological time. Subsequently separated by headward eroding streams and rivers which dissected the plateau, the colonies were made further distinct by the melting of glacial ice and drowning of the intervening valleys when the post glacial sea level rose 100 to 150 metres. Colonies of western Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula at 600 metres altitude became P. johorensis whereas those on northern Sarawak ridges at the same altitude became P. bullenianum. P. linii formed at sea level in Sarawak and south west of the Kapuas River on rocky outcrops of sandstone. The Celebes colonies became P. celebesensis and those on Ambon Island, P. ambonensis. The end members to the north in western Malaysia became P. robinsonii, at 900 to 1200 metres altitude, and to the south on Mt. Klamm, P. amabile. A further undescribed species from the Tioman Island off the coast of Western Malaysia is noted. This explanation by J. A. Fowlie provides for the evolution of each member of one section from a common ancestor which has arisen as a result of geological consequences which have successively occurred over a period of time.

Paphiopedilum hainanensis Fowl. is a plant from this Section was collected on Hainan Island located off the South China coast. Like P. robinsonii it has light green tessellated foliage, and the flower is similar to P. wolterianum in shape and colour. First described in 1987 123 this plant was found on the mountain regions of Hainan Island at 800 metres altitude in rocky soils. Liking cool conditions it flowers in winter to early spring. .



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Paphiopedilum series first uploaded 8th December 1999