Island de la Réunion orchids

Thierry Pailler is a doctor of Biology of the Reproduction of the Plants. Lecturer at the University of the Isle de la Réunion (France). Member of the Group of Specialist in Orchids (UICN) and the herbarium of the Isle de la Réunion. He is particularly interested for the biology and the ecology of the orchids and also for the conservation of plants. He took part of 18th WOC as a lecturer in the panel concerning Pollination. He is a responsible scientist of the program 'Tropical Ecosystems: Interactions plant-pollinating in a tropical oceanic island: Geographical distribution, syndromes of reproduction and genetics of the populations of Orchids in various ecosystems of Réunion', of the French Ministry of Ecology and the Durable Development.

ON: In Dijon, you talked about the of the 'Orchid-pollinator interactions in an oceanic Island' (Island de la Réunion) when you said that the number of indigenous species is 120 of which the half is endemic. Which are these endemic species?
TP: Aeranthes strangulata and tenella, Angraecum paniculatum (may be a synonym of Angraecum patens) , Benthamia sp, Bonniera corrugata, Bulbophyllum caespitosum, cordemoyi, Habenaria chloroleuca, Jumellea divaricata, exile, stenophylla, stipitata, Liparis caulescens and some others.

ON: Which are the principal genera?
TP: There are, at least, 49 species which belong to under Vandeae alliance including 25 species of Angraecum however three of them are supposed to be synonyms, 9 species of Jumellea, as well as other less known genera like Oenia, Solenangis. But there are also representatives of subfamily such as 14 species of Bulbophyllum and one Cirrhopetalum (Cirrhopetalum umbellatum) , 13 species of Liparis, Habenaria, Phaius, Oberonia, Oeceoclades, Calanthe.

ON: According to your studies, there are several species in common with the island of Madagascar in spite of the distance (about 800km), which are the relationship between the species of two islands? And with Mauritius Island which is nearer (about 200km)?
TP: There are species in common not only with Madagascar but also with Asia and Continental Africa and another islands such as Mauritius (more than 60), Rodrigue, Seychelles, Comoros and also . Almost half of the species distributed within many genera are confirmed for Madagascar Island: Aeranthes, Angraecopsis parviflora (only one species also occurring in Mauritius Island), Angraecum, Blecardia macrostachya (also Mauritius Island), Benthamia , Bulbophyllum, Calanthe sylvatica (also in Seychelles Islands), Corymborchis corymbis and Cryptopus elatus (also in Mauritius Island), Cynorkis, Disperis , Eulophia pulchra (also em Seychelles and Mauritius Islands), Habenaria prealta (also in Mauritius Island), Liparis (, Oberonia, Oeniella polystachus (also in Mauritius and Seychelles Islands), Phaius, Platylepis, Polystachya, Satyrium, Solenargis. Calanthe sylvatica, Cirrhopetalum umbellatum and Eulophia pulchra also appear in Asia. Polystachya mauritiana is also confirmed to America and Asia.

ON: Polystachya is a genus which species are mostly distributed to tropical Africa however there are few species are found in Asia, America and Madagascar. Polystachya mauritiana is the only species occurring there?
TP: There three another species: Polystachya cultriformis, fusiformis and minuta.

ON: Which are the geographical conditions of Réunion Island?
TP: Altitude goes from 0 to 3070 m and the geographical situation is 21°S and 55°E.

ON: We can suppose that various climates in spite of the surface which does not exceed 2512 km, it means species of hot and cold climate can be found there. According to the information I got, at the sea level, the temperature does not go down below 19°C, but depend on altitude, it can be negative. The species are, in general, epiphytes ?
TP: 50 % are epiphyte.

ON: Is there a aware of conservation in general? People feel concerned by this problem?
TP: Yes, there is several associations of nature conservancy: SREPEN, Association of the Orchidists of the South.

ON: And for the government? There is a program concerning the conservation?
TP: Yes, a program over three years was financed by the French ministry of Ecology and the Durable Development. The title of the program is: 'Tropical ecosystems: Interactions plant-pollinating in a tropical oceanic island: Geographical distribution, syndromes of reproduction and genetics of the populations of Orchids in various ecosystems of la Réunion'. I am the scientist in charge.

ON: Thank you, Thierry Pailler.

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