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Abgeschickt von Holger Perner am 20 Oktober, 2004 um 14:59:48
Autumn has changed the colors in Huanglong after a cold and very rainy summer. Seed set of Cypripedium bardolphianum is just 1/3 of its usual number. Cypripedium sichuanense has also a rather low seed set this year. Cyp. flavum and tibeticum show more or less the same capsule number as in drier years, so do Cypripedium plectrochilum and henryi. Cyp. micranthum, which was discovered by Ulli Paterny this year in Huanglong (see contribution to the forum by Ruediger Kohlmueller, who followed Ulli into that particular slope to have a look at the plants), has apparently not made any seed capsule at all this year. I searched the slope carefully and found several colonies, but all without seed.
The attached four photos where all taken at the 26th September. The first shows a fine specimen of Cypripedium sichuanense with a seed capsule on the slope with the Cyp. micranthum. The altitude is around 2300 m.
The second photo was taken at 3120 m in the Huanglong valley. The plant is Cypripedium flavum. The beautiful red leaves around it belong to Arctostaphylos alpinus, the alpine bearberry, which covers a lot of ground around the Cypripediums in the Huanglong valley.
A fruiting specimen of Cypripedium tibeticum is depicted in the third photo (3120 m). Beside the red bearberry you can spot the the small fruit stands of Galearis diantha, a common Orchis-relative in Huanglong valley.
The fourth photo, also taken at an altitude around 3120 m, gives an full impression of the early autumn colors in the Huanglong valley. Soon the birches and larches in the forested slopes (coniferous forest and higher up mixed forest) will turn intensive yellow before shattering their leaves.
Parallel the Cypripediums will disperse their seeds. In November only few capsules are left that still contain some seeds, most were emptied in October. From November to April winter will bring deep frost and the driest months of the year. Lowest precipitation is between December and February and the forest floor as well as the uppermost layer in the Huanglong valley become bone dry! The Cypripediums enjoy a long, cold, dry and above all uninterrupted winter rest from November until end of April!
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