Section Thiopetalum Hallier

This section is represented by the single species.

Asher (5) notes the flowers show petals which are sulphur-yellow in colour, which provides the Greek name 'theion', meaning 'sulphur'.(91) The plants have dark green foliage.

Cribb 105 places these plants in his Subgenus Paphiopedilum Section Paphiopedilum



This relatively rare species grows over 250 mm tall. Its inflorescence bears a single flower which is some 75 mm across. The dorsal sepal is pale greenish-yellow with a central broad maroon stripe. The synsepalum is very pale greenish with two longitudinal purple stripes. The petals are yellow with a central stripe, spotted purple. The lip is glossy, dull yellow outside and spotted purple within. (8) Cribb states it is o ne of the most distinctive species of the genus. 105

This species was discovered in 1865 in the Travancore Hills of South India by Mrs J.A. Brown at an elevation of 1500 to 1700 metres. (4) Plants collected by Mrs Brown were acquired by Colonel Drury, after whom it was named. 105 Colonel Beddome subsequently rediscovered it and introduced it into European cultivation at Kew Gardens in the UK, around 1875. (4)

September to October flowering (Southern Hemisphere equivalent months), it needs a June rest with bright light for flower initiation. Roots form late on growths, so divide a plant with care. It flowers on mature growths, sometimes which will be three years old.

It is native of the Travancore Highlands and Kalikad Hill regions of South India. (3) Pradhan (25) states it is a very isolated member growing in poor hard limey soil replenished by decaying vegetation, in almost full sunlight.

This species was quite rare, being lost for nearly 100 years, although further habitats have been' discovered in 1972 and later. However, the story of a collecting trip in 1976, when this species was completely stripped from one habitat makes interesting reading, especially in light of modern attitudes towards plant conservation, (31) and Cribb 105 notes it is either extinct in the wild or on the verge of extinction. There has more recently been discovered a protected population of several thousand plants. 153

19 primaries had been registered to 1976, with 5 'recent' awards.

growing orchids is all about enjoying your plants
and sharing your growing success with friends and family.

Good luck and good growing.

Top of page

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