Why are new orchids still being discovered?
By Phillip Cribb - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


The recently published checklist of the orchids of the world (www.rbgkew.org.uk/data/orchids) lists almost 25,000 accepted orchid species in genera. New species continue to be added at a more or less steady rate of 200-300 per annum and the discovery of new species shows no sign of declining. New species have been the life-blood of orchid breeding for the past century and a half and they continue to enrich most breeding groups. Where are all these novelties coming from?
The Orchidaceae are cosmopolitan, distributed from within the Arctic Circle to the islands south of Australia, but the greatest diversity of species is found in the tropical montane regions of both the Old and New Worlds, the richest areas being forests on the hills and mountains between 500 and 2000m elevation. These regions are still poorly explored botanically, often being inaccessible until roads are cut through them, facilitating access. New orchids are often found growing on trees near these roads or on the bare roadside banks where orchids often form monocultures. They are usually epiphytic species which can also grow on rock and soil where competition is reduced and moisture levels are sufficiently high.
How long can the flow of new species continue? Well, the last of the world's wild places are being opened up. The montane forests are under particular threat from logging as the supply of timber trees in the lowland forests is exhausted. Logging roads open up areas to subsequent exploitation by land-hungry immigrants, fields often being cleared on the steepest slopes. Many orchids are being destroyed before scientists can describe them. I anticipate that the flow of new species will continue unabated for a decade or two but time is running out.
Are new species evolving now? The idea that new species of orchids evolve rapidly has been mooted by some orchid specialists to explain the numbers of novelties found in the Andes. These ideas are discussed.

Phillip Cribb joined the staff of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1974. He is currently Deputy Keeper of the Herbarium and Curator of the Orchid Herbarium. His current research is concentrated on the Genera Orchidacearum (GO) project, a new classification of the family, and on the taxonomy of Old World tropical orchids. He has participated in many expeditions, especially in the tropics, to study orchids in the field. He is the author of several books and over 350 papers on orchids and is co-editor of the Orchid Research Newsletter.He has been a member of the Royal Horticultural Society's Orchid Committee for over 20 years and currently chairs the IUCN/Species Survival Commission's Orchid Specialist Group which publishes Orchid Conservation News.

CITES, its Evolution, and the History of Attitudes towards It.
By Harold Koopowitz


Here I examine the rationale and reasoning behind listing various orchid genera and species on CITES Appendix I and the entire orchid family on CITES Appendix II. Each of the taxa that have appeared on CITES Appendix I will be examined and analyzed. It appears that CITES works against ex situ species conservation by erecting insurmountable bureaucratic barriers. Arguments that current restrictions on orchid exports are not the fault of CITES is examined. CITES enforcement varies by country and signatory. Methods for changing CITES listings ia suggested. It would also serve conservation, the orchid growing community and CITES better if all three could cooperate and facilitate making desirable orchid species available commercially by mass artificial propagation.

Harold Koopowitz is professor of biology at the University of California at Irvine. He has been collecting, growing and studying orchids for over 30 years. His involvement has been at many levels as a hobbyist, scientist and commercial grower. He specializes in paphiopedilums and is a fully accredited orchid judge for the American Orchid Society. He is also a corresponding member of the Conservation Committee for the American Orchid Society and serves on the International Orchid Commission. In addition, he is a member of the Species Survival Commission concerned with orchids for the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). He has described several of the slipper orchid species and he is the editor-in-chief for the Orchid Digest.

The Evolution of the Orchid Hobbyist Through the Centuries
By Norito Hasegawa - Paphanatics LTD


Undoubtedly orchids have been admired for centuries. It is inconceivable that native people of many countries have not admired orchids as they grew and flowered in their habitat. However, whether they were collected and successfully grown as pet plants over the millennia has not necessarily been recorded.
The first accounts of orchids being truly collected and grown artificially can be traced to the Chinese who called them lan. But it is possible lan could have initially included many different flowers such as lilies, as well as orchids.
The Chinese and Japanese artists included cymbidiums in drawings. The Japanese samurai admired and collected them for their sweet fragrances, plant growths, and leaf variations. Neofinetias were collected and nurtured as well. Since the simple start and art of collecting and cultivating orchids in China and Japan, the Western world caught up quickly, spreading the gospel of orchids. Commercial ventures especially in England grew around the importations and new discoveries of orchids. The expense of collecting and importing with subsequent huge losses made it prohibitive for the ordinary hobbyists to purchase them in great quantities. Mostly the affluent became avid collectors and their activities undoubtedly included things such as one-upmanship, prestige, snobbery and pride of possession in a one-of-a-kind orchid plant or hybrid. Many books were written touting different formulas for growing orchids including greenhouse culture and outdoor culture, thus spreading the word on how “easy” it was to grow many orchids. The growth of many orchid societies undoubtedly has had influence in popularizing the hobby. Today orchids are so readily available in grocery stores, general gardening stores, and through the Internet, that the hobby of orchid collecting runs the gamut of those who are serious orchid breeders, to artists, to orchid scientists, to multiple and monogeneric collectors, and of course to those wishing to have potfuls of beautiful, inexpensive, unlabeled orchids. Getting to this last phase of the hobby, of course, took centuries to accomplish which includes the evolution and improvements of artificial germination, the improvements of growing media, the concept of meristeming, and the use of computerization in growing, marketing, and orchid distribution.

African stars: the angraecoid orchids of Africa and Madagascar
By Joyce Stewart - England


At least 55 genera of orchids are currently recognised in the epiphytes comprising the two subtribes Angraecinae (19) and Aerangidinae (36) (Dressler 1993). At least 48 of these genera, comprising a total of c.680 species, occur in Africa and Madagascar. For the most part the species are easily recognised, and some of the genera are well circumscribed. But there are at least 18 monotypic genera and 23 genera with less than 10 species each. Only a few genera have 40 or more species, and Angraecum has more than 220 species. Size alone is not a criterion for generic delimitation, but surely this genus, with its very diverse plant habits, inflorescences and flowers, is overdue for revision ? Several others, including Aeranthes, Diaphananthe, Tridactyle, Rangaeris and Angraecopsis also demonstrate remarkable differences between species.
Are there currently too few genera, or too many ? In this paper attention will be drawn to those taxa, large and small, where DNA analysis might yield information that could be useful in a taxonomic revision of these two subtribes.

Joyce Stewart is a botanist and amateur orchid grower who spent 22 years in Africa. Since then she has been the first Sainsbury Orchid Fellow at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and then Director of Horticulture, Science and Education for the Royal Horticultural Society. Now ‘retired’, she participated of the 18th WOC as a President of the WOC Trust (nowadays the President is Peter Furniss).

Cypripedium in China
By Dr. Holger Perner

Within the slipperorchids, i.e. the subfamily Cypripedioideae GARAY, the genus Cypripedium L. comprising 48 species forms the second largest group behind Paphiopedilum PFITZER with currently 75 excepted species. For more than 150 years tropical slipperorchids of the genera Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium ROLFE are in the focus of scientists and horticulturists alike. Since about 10 years the interest is increasing as well in the temperate genus Cypripedium and a comprehensive monograph by the eminent orchidologist Phillip CRIBB paid tribute to this. China is a good starting point to introduce the genus because it hosts 71 % of all known species. The world-wide highest concentration of temperate slipper orchids is found in the mountains of Southwest China were 25 species occur, 20 of them endemic to the region. All sections of the genus known from China will be shortly discussed. Some remarks on the ecology, conservation and cultivation of the Chinese cypripediums will conclude the presentation.

Dr. Holger Perner was born in Hamburg, Germany. He is graduated as Diplom-Biologe (master degree in plant ecology) in 1991 and PhD (ecology) in 1996. Until 2001 researcher and scientific editor in a German national research centre, since 2001 working for the Huanglong Nature reserve, Sichuan, China.

Orchids from France
By Jean Koenig

Some 150 species of wild orchids can be found in France. Their number was lower some 50 years ago but researches leading to a better knowledge of taxa allowed to distinguish several new species. Some are growing on quite restricted areas, others can be found over a large part of the country. Their most adequate biotope can be either dry or wet, basic or acid, open or covered. Eighteen species are very rare and protected at a national level, others are protected only in some French administrative regions due to their scarcity or the precarity of their biotopes in those regions. French Orchids mapping has been set up since more than 20 years with the help of the Environment Ministry. This program points out the species geopgraphic distributions in correlation with their ecological requirements. The identified variations in quantitative distribution data might indice protective actions, now or in the future. Populations evolution during this period presents variations which may be caused by climatic changes and direct human action. The localization of orchids in about 40 departments, out of 95 in total, has been published and a national synthesis will be edited in a few years.

Jean Koenig is graduated from the Uuniversité Paris XI ( DEA d’amélioration des plantes).Vice President of the Société Française d’Orchidophilie (SFO) and President of the Groupement Auvergne de la SFO.



7) The Ecuadorian species and their evolution
By Alexander Hirtz

There has been a recent explosion in evolution in certain genera of orchids in Ecuador, with 2200 new species discovered in the past few decades. Only 12% of the total of 220 genera account for 90% of the new discoveries. Also several new genera have been discovered recently, like the genus Benzingia, Teaguea, Suarezia or Epibator, which will be discussed with some highlights and description of their habitat.


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