What's up in Huanglong? Part 3 (with photos)

back / zurück

Abgeschickt von Holger Perner am 23 Juli, 2003 um 21:40:30

Dear Cypripedium enthusiasts,

With part 3 of my showcase of the Cypripediums in Huanglong I will introduce some natural variability of shape and color in a given Cypripedium population to you. Too often the desire of the customer to collect the unusual and new paired with fancy names and 'colorful' statements of the dealers creates myths of new species and/or subspecies, that are not really existing. Some species groups in the genus Cypripedium, like the group around Cyp. macranthos or the one around Cyp. calceolus show a big deal of variety within the species and often even within a given population, i.e. within a group of plants of the same species, that grow together in a certain location, like a hillside or a small valley.

My example is the Cypripedium tibeticum population in the Huanglong valley, where several thousand specimens grow in one single population on an area of approx. 2 x 0.1 km. Most share certain characters in coloration and shape, that together with some background from their habitat makes them relatively easily recognizable on a photo. But there is a great deal of variation in this population, that does not fit into the standard scheme of the population, but these plants are just Cyp. tibeticum as well!

I only choose photos I took on the same day (23rd June 2003), like the photos in part 2. All where taken between 3100 and 3200 m altitude and the plants all grow in shallow humus pockets on limestone tufa, usually with a lot of open sky above them but in the immediate protection of some shrubs beside them. Please join me now on a little walk through this population.


A light pink Cyp. tibeticum with very broad petals and a narrow opening of the pouch. Very rarely even semi-alba tibeticum can be seen in Huanglong which are in most flower parts white, except for some pink, usually around the lip opening and on some veins on the petals and sepals. However, in this form not the light coloration (which draw my attention on it first-hand) is interesting, but the extremely wide petals.


A Cyp. tibeticum, that would be called typical by most Cypripedium enthusiasts. However, the clear white collar around the lip orifice is not typical for many tibeticums in Huanglong.


Two forms close together. The left one has a light pink coloration and a more globose, i.e. rounded pouch, the right form is of a rather even darker coloration and has a more elongated pouch.


This form has a very big flower with unusual long petals and a contrast-rich coloration.


Also contrast rich in coloration is this form with a very good and well balanced shape. I took one shoot from the little clump for the herbarium (part of my scientific work in Huanglong) and hand-pollinated another shoot. Note that this form has just two leaves (the small one at the base is not more than a sheath), three full developed leaves is the norm for most (but not all) tibeticums in Huanglong.


This plant of Cyp. tibeticum has the shape and coloration of Cyp. froschii.


This form fits in the common concept of tibeticum.


Both forms from the forgoing pictures are stand close together. All plants shown in this contribution are just individuals within the Huanglong population and do not represent distinct varieties or other ranks of taxonomic significance. You will find a similar variability in big populations of Cyp. tibeticum elsewhere, like in Wolong or around Shangrila (Zhongdian).



back / zurück