Species Orchid Society of

Western Australia (Inc)


Recently Identified Paphiopedilum Species

The Orchid Digest July- September 2017 included a paper by Cavestro, Gruss and Koopowitz about 6 newly identified Paphiopedilum species:

Paphiopedilum agusii (accepted by Kew);
Paphiopedilum bungebelangii (accepted by Kew);
Paphiopedilum dodyanum (accepted by Kew);
Paphiopedilum lunatum (accepted by Kew);
Paphiopedilum notatisepalum (accepted by Kew); and
Paphiopedilum zulhermanianum (accepted by Kew)

In the following issue, January-March 2018, Koopowitz, Lamwiriyakul and Laohapat published information on another newly identified species. Paphiopedilum myanmaricum (not yet accepted by Kew). This article prepared for the Paphiopedilum Study Group demonstrates that new species are regularly being identified, in part resulting from better access to previously inaccessible locations and partly from improved identification techniques including DNA sequencing
For the purposes of this discussion, the Plant List supported by Kew and several leading herbaria http://powo.science.kew.org/? is used as a searchable reference as it provides details of those Paphiopedilum species where the identification is accepted.
Recognised authors and taxonomists including Dr Guido Braem, Dr Phillip Cribb, the late Dr Jack Fowlie, Harold Koopowitz, Olaf Gruss, the late Holger Perner and Dr Tanaka as well as many others are constantly working with this genus to properly identify species and using DNA sequencing to supplement to the traditional bases for identification. As species orchid enthusiasts, improving our knowledge and understanding of the taxonomical procedures involved in validly identifying and obtaining recognition for a previously unidentified plant species is important in understanding why plant genera and species change as we develop better tools and procedures for their identification.
Dr Tanaka is recognised as a very knowledgeable enthusiast lists “new” species on his webpage at http://www.orchid.or.jp/orchid/people/tanaka/indexe.html In doing so, he states that his page is not for scientists or botanists, but is targeted to enthusiasts, thereby avoiding the classification disputes that continue to plague taxonomy. My visit to his website revealed a further three new species that are covered in this article, Paphiopedilum natasche (accepted by Kew), Paphiopedilum papilio-laoticus (not yet accepted by Kew) and Paphiopedilum rohmanii (not yet accepted by Kew). All the photos in this article are, unless otherwise stated, from Dr Tanaka’s webpage.


Paphiopedilum agusii. Cavestro & N. Bougourd 2017 Subgenus Sigmatopetalum, Section Barbata, Subsection Chloroneura is a recently described species from 900m in Central Java (Indonesia). The species is named for Agus Marup, a local Javanese nurseryman who found, grew and flowered the plant that was later identified.
While the flower is said to be somewhat similar to Paphiopedilum argus (Rchb.f.) Stein and Paphiopedilum javanicum (Reinw. ex Lindl.)Stein, it differs from the latter in that it has a wider dorsal sepal (largely ovate and not elliptic), oblong petals (not narrowly oblong) and a sub circular staminode (not reniform = kidney-shaped). It is also somewhat similar to Paphiopedilum callosum and Paphiopedilum barbatum. Additional research is required to determine whether or not it is in fact a new species, or a variant form of one of the species to which it is similar.

Paphiopedilum agusii.

Paphiopedilum agusii staminode



Paphiopedilum agusii in situ


Paphiopedilum bungebelangii Metusala Section Barbata
A new species that is closely related to Paphiopedilum barbatum, Paphiopedilum bungebelangii differs as its undulate, yellow/green petals with darker green stripes lack the characteristic black warts of Paphiopedilum barbatum. Its name means beautiful flower (bunge = flower and belangi = beautiful). This species was found at 1,550-1,650 m in Aceh province and described in the Edinburgh Journal of Botany, March 2017. P.1-10 by D. Metusala. Paphiopedilum bungebelangii also resembles Paphiopedilum robinsonianum which is found nearby.

Photo: David Ng. Published in Orchid Digest Jul-Sept 2017

Photo: Dody Nugrohu. Published in Orchid Digest Jul-Sept 2017





Paphiopedilum bungebelangii in situ Aceh
Photo: Frankie Handoyo, Published in Orchid Digest Jul-Sept 2017












Paphiopedilum dodyanum Cavestro 2017 section Cochlopetalum
This newly described species, also from Aceh, was found in 2016 at 1,300m in the Gayo region of Aceh, some 500 km from where Paphiopedilum liemianum can be found. It is similar to Paphiopedilum liemianum and Paphiopedilum moquettianum but differs from Paphiopedilum liemianum as it has mottled leaves, a green, spotted brown dorsal sepal, and an ovate-rhombic staminode, although it shares the heavily pigmented leaf under-sides of Paphiopedilum liemianum. When compared with Paphiopedilum moquettianum, the background colour in the dorsal is green rather than yellow.

This new species was described in The Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia Nomenclature Note April 2017 by Dr. William Cavestro. It was named for Dody Nugrohro, owner of Djuwita Nursery.

Photo by David Ng









Paphiopedilum lunatum Metusala 2017 section Barbata
This species was found in Aceh, and described was described in the Edinburgh Journal of Botany, March 2017 74(1) p.1-10 by D. Metusala. It is closely related to Paphiopedilum javanicum but differs in its longer,
oblong-elliptic petals. In fact, it was originally thought to be a red form of Paphiopedilum tonsum that has been for sale for some time. It has also been suggested that it might be a natural hybrid between Paphiopedilum javanicum and Paphiopedilum tonsum. This view is rejected by Metusala as he says it is a much larger flower than either of these species, and has much longer petals.


Paphiopedilum lunatum

Photo source











Paphiopedilum lunatum in situ


Paphiopedilum myanmaricum Koop., Lamwir. & Laohap. sp. nov. subgenus Brachypetalum
This new species was described in Phytotaxa 324(1):097-100A2017 by Dr. Harold Koopowitz et al. This species from Myanmar differs from Paphiopedilum josianae (previously Paphiopedilum concolor var. longipetalum) found in Myanmar and Paphiopedilum leucochilum found in Thailand in the shape of the labellum, pattern of markings on petals and sepals, obovate to elliptical petals, shape and pattern of markings of the staminode, and pendent inflorescence. It was found in primary, broad-leaved evergreen forest and scrub on steep slopes and limestone cliffs. While similar to other members of the sub-genus such as Paphiopedilum josianae in having dense purple colouration on the underside of the leaves, the most striking difference between Paphiopedilum myanmaricum and all the other members of the subgenus Brachypetalum is the fringe of white hairs along the staminode basal margin. Staminode fringes are rare in Paphiopedilum, though common in Phragmipedium. In considering whether this might be a natural hybrid between Paphiopedilum josianae and Paphiopedilum leucochilum, the authors examined man-made hybrids between these two species that bore no resemblance to Paphiopedilum myanmaricum.

Further Paphiopedilum myanmaricum has no fragrance whereas Paphiopedilum leucochilum has a quite unpleasant fragrance, presumably to attract its pollinator.



Photo Orchid Digest Jan-Mar 2018








Paphiopedilum nataschae Braem 2015 subgenus Sigmatopetalum
This new species was discovered in the north central region of Sulawesi, and was described in Richardiana XV 276-281(2015) by Dr.Guido J. Braem. While Paphiopedilum nataschae is similar to Paphiopedilum sangii, the staminodes of each are distinctly different in shape and colour, the pouch of Paphiopedilum sangii has prominent veining not present in Paphiopedilum nataschae. Paphiopedilum nataschae has also been likened to the recently discovered Paphiopedilum robinsonianum discovered by Cavestro. The major difference between the two is the shape and colouration of the dorsal sepal, and the strongly twisted petals of Paphiopedilum robinsonianum. It is also noted that Paphiopedilum sangii var. ayubianum described by Olaf Gruss is somewhat similar to Paphiopedilum nataschae. Paphiopedilum nataschae was named for Miss Natascha Popow.


Paphiopedilum natasche

Paphiopedilum sangii - Paphiopedilum robinsonianum


Paphiopedilum notatisepalum Z. J. Liu, M. Wang & S. R. Lan 2017 Subgenus Paphiopedilum Section Paphiopedilum
This new species is found in southeastern Yunnan, China in the crevices of shady cliffs or rocks in evergreen broad-leaved forests over limestone where it grows as lithophyte. This new species is morphologically similar to Paphiopedilum henryanum, from which it differs by being smaller plants with large yellow spots on the leaves, shorter flower scape but larger flower, white and narrow sepals and light purple-red petals with larger purple spots and yellow-white margins. The molecular analyses of combined nuclear and plastid datasets (nrITS and matK) indicate that Paphiopedilum notatisepalum is sister to Paphiopedilum barbigerum which has a green leaves and pale yellow-green sepals and petals. The species name notatisepalum refers to purple-maroon-spotted sepals, from the Greek notati (spot) and sepalum (sepal).
This species was described in Phytotaxa 302(2):156-164 2017 by Meina Wang et al. Using the World Conservation Union Red List Categories and Criteria (IUCN, 2012), Paphiopedilum notatisepalum should be treated as critically endangered.


Paphiopedilum papilio-laoticus Schuit., Luang Aphay & Lio 2018 Section Paphiopedilum
This new species from Laos was described as Paphiopedilum papilio-laoticus in Orchideen Journal Vol.6-4, 5 June 2018, by Andre Schuiteman, Sulvng
Luang Aphay and Shunsuke Lio. It was discovered amongst wild-collected orchids being sold in a local market, much as was the case for Paphiopedilum rungsuriyanum (see later in this article) which created a huge amount of interest when it was first flowered. It is thought that these species are endemic to Laos, and the habitat from which they were collected is being kept confidential to prevent their wholesale removal.
This species is most similar to the highly variable Paphiopedilum gratrixianum (and Paphiopedilum daoense) but has much larger flowers, a uniformly pubescent, white staminode with incurved margins and the eye-like purple spots on the dorsal sepal. The other species in the SECTION Paphiopedilum with a white staminode and large dorsal sepal is Paphiopedilum charlesworthii, but its staminode is glabrous and the dorsal sepal is uniformly pinkish with darker veins.
It is named for the Latin papilio (butterfly), and laoticus (from Laos) referring to the large dorsal sepal that resembles a butterfly wing and the origin of the species. The authors say that it is hoped that this attractive and rare species can be propagated from seed, and urge collectors not to buy plants of this species which are most likely to be wild collected. Once the identification is accepted, it is likely to be added to ICUN red list as threatened as it is only found in a very confined location.

Photos this and following page published Orchideen Journal Vol.6-4, 5 June 2018

Paphiopedilum papilio-laoticus

Paphiopedilum papilio-laoticus
Plant habit

Paphiopedilum rohmanii Cavestro & O. Gruss sp. nov. section Barbata
This new species from Aceh province in northern Sumatra is found in in humid forest at 700- 800m. This species has a white dorsal sepal tinged with light purple and brown-purple veined, petals de-flexed, green veined and spotted with light brown, a light brown lip veined with brown, a lunate staminode white and green reticulated in the middle. This appearance is different to most of the species in the Barbata section. While it most closely resembles Paphiopedilum tonsum, it differs in having deflexed, twisted at apex, more mottled brown petals, a staminode that is lunate (not subreniform) and green reticulated in the middle. It is quite different to Paphiopedilum barbatum. It is named for its discoverer Rohman Ikhwan, the owner of Roman Orchids in Aceh.

When looking at the flower, the deflexed petals bear a resemblance to Paphiopedilum callosum found in Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. The Sumatran species Paphiopedilum tonsum and Paphiopedilum barbatum are found on the Malay Peninsula and to the North and centre of Sumatra.



These two species are therefore geographically close to Paphiopedilum rohmanii. This species was published in Orchideen Journal (Internet) Vol 5.3, 2017














Paphiopedilum zulhermanianum
Cavestro 2017 section Barbata
This species is found in the Bukit Barisan Mountains in Western Sumatra at 700-800m as a terrestrial. Named for M Zulherman, its finder, this species is similar to others in section Barbata. It is most similar to Paphiopedilum bullenianum but differs as it has a longer dorsal sepal with white margins, the petals are more spathulate (non-oblanceolate) and coloured pale purple-rose in the apical part and it has a reniform (not sub circular) staminode.

Paphiopedilum zulhermanianum unflowered seedling.

This new species was described in 'The Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopaedia Nomenclature Note ' April 2017 by Dr. William Cavestro.






It was disturbing to find several advertisements on the internet offering some of these newly discovered species for sale. Clearly, they will be wild-collected plants in breach of the CITES convention, but the vendors are not in any way concerned about the removal of perhaps rare and endangered species from the wild, preferring profit to conservation!


Paphiopedilum zulhermanianum






Paphiopedilum rungsuriyanum
section Pygmaea?
This apparently new and very distinctive species has been published by Olaf Gruss, Niwat Rungruang, Yongyouth Chaisuriyakul and Ibn Dionisio in Orchideen Journal, Vol 2-1, 2014. Like several discoveries in in the last 10-15 years, it came about by chance. Wild-collected Laos Paphiopedilum species orchids were sent to Thailand for sale in the plant market. Mr Niwat Rungruang, a Thai orchid enthusiast purchased several plants from some of these collections. When one of the plants bloomed in May 2014, he realised that his plant was not
Paphiopedilum canhii which it resembled vegetatively.

Photo source:

He contacted Dr Olaf Gruss, and supplied flowering specimens and photos for analysis and identification. From several flowering specimens, this new species was proposed.

This photo is purportedly the habitat for Paphiopedilum rungsuriyanum, but could equally be Paphiopedilum canhii given the superficial vegetative similarity.

Photo source:
Other than a source in northern Laos, little has been published about the habitat in which it is found. In part, this is due to the fact that the plants were most likely illegally collected and transported to Thailand in the first instance.
While the species with its marbled leaves appears quite similar to Paphiopedilum canhii, the flower is distinctively different with much broader petals and intensive red-purple colouring, and an entirely different staminodium. The underside of the leaves is grey-green with wide purple veins while Paphiopedilum canhii is red- purple speckled.
Paphiopedilum canhii Aver. & O. Gruss section Pygmaea?
Paphiopedilum canhii was first collected in 2009 in Northern Vietnam during a field expedition. It was named for Mr. Canh Chu Xuan, who discovered the plant.
Only a few plants were collected in 2009 in northern Vietnam from primary coniferous, mixed and broad-leaved endemic forests covering tops of remnant table- or mesa-like hills and mountains composed of highly eroded marble-like rocky limestone. A small population was found in shade at the base of a vertical cliff near the mountaintop at 1,500m. Plants that were collected flowered in a nursery a few months later. The flowers did not fit with any known Paphiopedilum species based on colour and morphology, and initially it was thought that it was a natural hybrid. Further examination and study of its morphology indicated that this Paphiopedilum did not fit with any possible hybrid morphology of based on parental pairs of known species. The colour and shape of the petals, lip and particularly the staminode are specific and characteristic. The authors concluded that these characteristics distinctly segregate this plant as a separate entity. The registration has been accepted and little doubt exists that it is a new species as part of an isolated taxonomic group of local calcium-dependent limestone endemics of northern Vietnam.

Photo source:

Within the limits of this section, this newly discovered species may have some relation to Paphiopedilum callosum (Rchb. f.) Stein and Paphiopedilum purpuratum Pfitzer. However, this affinity is rather uncertain due to the different floral morphology. Ecological, environmental and climate conditions of Paphiopedilum canhii look quite similar to those that were described and published earlier for Paphiopedilum purpuratum (Averyanov et al. 2003).
According to the most modern taxonomic system for the genus Paphiopedilum, this species was provisionally placed into section Barbata (Kraenzl.) V.A. Albert & B. Pettersen (Cribb 1998; Averyanov et al. 2003). However, that sectional placement remains uncertain due to the differences in the leaves, the staminode and the lip, as well as the lack of warts on petals.
As will often be the case for endangered plant communities that include newly discovered species, the primary forests on rocky limestone habitats for Paphiopedilum canhii and other plant species are presently under great threat. This species has little chance of survival without further study and implementation of protective measures.
This species was discovered during extensive botanical field explorations conducted in 2009. The limestone areas of northern Vietnam and southern China were identified as distinct and important centres for Paphiopedilum speciation and diversity (Averyanov 2008). These studies revealed more than 25 fairly isolated local endemics with surprisingly restricted and disjunctive distributions. Among them are several highly prized species and varieties of Paphiopedilum. (Averyanov 2008; Liu Zhong-Jian, Chen Sing-Chi and Cribb 2009). Southern China and Northern Vietnam have been a priority for botanical explorations and investigations for many years, but the limestone areas in northern Vietnam and northern Laos remained largely unexplored.

Paphiopedilum canhii in situ

Photo source:

When referring to some of the unusual and exciting orchids from this general area including Bulbophyllum paraemarginatum Aver., Dendrobium farinatum Schildh.&Schraut, Dendrobium trantuanii Perner et X.N. Dang, Dendrobium vietnamense Aver., Hayata glandulifera Aver. and Sunipia nigricans Aver recently discovered, (Perner and Dang 2003; Schildhauermand Schraut 2004; Averyanov 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009) note that botanists always expected many more discoveries from areas such as these that for many years had been inaccessible.
More recently, a new variety of Paphiopedilum canhii was found in south-eastern Yunnan, China and described as Paphiopedilum canhii var. funingense by Z. J. Liu and L.J. Chen. The flower closely resembles Paphiopedilum canhii with the exception of the flower colour.