It’s prime time to enjoy the beauty of Paphiopedilum spicerianum, a rare terrestrial orchid, in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG).Many individuals of Paphiopedilum spicerianum are in full bloom now.
Members of the genus Paphiopedilum have high ornamental value because the unique flowers are available in a wide variety of colors, sizes and shapes. The P. spicerianum population has been decreasing in recent decades due to the loss of native orchid habitat and excessive collection. It has been listed as Endangered globally on the IUCN Red List and is part of the Wild Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations. In the Yunnan Province of China, only a single population of about 10 mature individuals was found and confirmed in 2006.
Through artificial propagation, XTBG researchers have got many tissue cultures seedlings of this rare orchid and reintroduced them into the wild, achieving success in its ex situ conservation. In November, many of the orchids come to bloom.
Paphiopedilum spicerianum is native to Burma and Assam and is the original species of spicerianum. It has a single unique flower about 7 cm in diameter. The pseudocoramus (column) in the center, which resembles a toad or bird's face, is conspicuous and delightful. The long greenish wavy things on either side of the face are petals. The center of the petals has a reddish-black streak. The green mouth-like thing is called a lip, which looks like an insect catcher's sack for insects but doesn't catch them. The white crown-like object that appears to rest on top of the head is the dorsal sepal (dorsal sepal), which has a reddish-purple streak.