What's up in Huanglong? Part 5

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Abgeschickt von Holger Perner am 26 Juni, 2004 um 06:51:31

This years season was late. The main Cypripedium bloom in the Huanglong valley was delayed for a week or so and has its peak right now. Also in the Danyun gorge some plants could be found in flower a little later than usual. A most exciting find was the discovery of Cypripedium micranthum at about 2300 m in the Huanglong Nature Reserve. The site lies at the base of a high limestone cliff. The base of the cliff is a slope of limestone boulders in various sizes. They are covered with a thin layer of soil and moss under a more or less dense cover of shrubs and little trees. Here, in ample moisture fed by regular precipitation but at the same time with perfect drainage, the plants thrive in the loose substrate and their roots could find anything they needed between moss, thin mineral soil and limestone rock.

Cyp. micranthum like Cyp. bardolphianum has a creeping and branching rhizome with the new growth coming up in some distance from the old one. The colony consisted of a few plants (perhaps half a dozen or less) with a total of about 100 growths. Only a dozen growths where in flower which is most likely due to the relatively shady spot the colony was growing. Companion plants beside the shrubs very few and small herbs, some Selaginella and sparse grass as well as some other orchids. The closest growing was Goodyera repens, just a few centimeters beside Cyp. micranthum. Another more spectacular species was Cyp. sichuanense, also still in prime flower. It grew just a few meters away from the Cyp. micranthum colony. At the edge of the denser shrubs grew Cyp. henryi, the flowers are nearly past. In full flower near the Cyp. micranthum and in the same shady conditions was Calanthe alpina. A few Epipactis mairei and Listera puberula var. maculata (both still some weeks from flowering) were the other orchids I saw around the Cyp. micranthum when I visited the place a few days ago.




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