Cyp. bardolphianum und Cyp. forrestii in nature

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Abgeschickt von Rüdiger Kohlmüller am 08 Juni, 2005 um 08:06:42

Last year I had the opportunity to see Cyp. bardolphianum in larger numbers at two sites in Sichuan in its natural habitat. When I saw the first plant I was astonished about the affinity to another little Cypripedium species which I found on another tour in 2001 in Northern Yunnan, Cyp. forrestii. So I would like to show some more pictures of the variety of the little known Cyp. forrestii in nature and make a short comparison between Cyp. bardolphianum and Cyp. forrestii.

Both habitats of C. bardolphianum in Sichuan were quite diversified with a mixture of loose coniferous woodland, boulder slopes, partially old tufa terraces, small trees and shrubs. In this habitat Cyp. bardolphianum was growing in small colonies mostly under shrubs in a herbal, mossy layer. Sometimes I found it also in the woodland. But here it was not so common as in the zone of the shrubby vegetation.

Cyp. forrestii grows in a slightly different habitat. It shares its habitat in Yunnan with Cyp. margaritacaeum as you can see in the picture.


Both margaritacaeum and forrestii grow in coniferous woodland of pines with quite "old" trees and not too much natural cover. In this habitat Cyp. forrestii could be found found deep in the wood but it seems to prefer more open shrubby borders of the forrest and could be found there forming small colonies. From my opinion Cyp. forrestii prefers an more open vegetation only with pine needle layer around and not a herbal layer like Cyp. bardolphianum.

Both species show the tendency to form small colonies in their habitats. We found several groups of Cyp. bardolphianum at both places forming more or less loose groups or colonies (one large group was up to 15-20 plants). The next picture shows an example from Huanglong.


Cyp. forrestii was also growing in groups. In this respect there is no big difference between the two species as the picture below with a scattered group of Cyp. forrestii shows.


Comparing the plant occurence, the leaves of Cyp. bardolphianum are smaller than the leaves of Cyp. forrestii, are more ascending from the ground and sometimes show a maroon colouration of the leaf tips which can extend until the middle of the leaves as shown below.


The leaves of Cyp. forrestii lie more against the ground compared to the more erect leaves of Cyp. bardolphianum. The leaves vary from unspotted to heavily spotted. I didn´t see any plant showing maroon tips like Cyp. bardolphianum commonly shows (the example below next to the unspotted plant is the only exception - but its different in the coloration from Cyp. bardolphianum). The following three examples show the variety of typical Cyp. forrestii plants. You can have spotted plants next to unspotted. Estimated 20-30 % of the plants had spotted leaves.



I found only very few Cyp. forrestii plants with fully opened flowers. In the comparison of the flowers you will find that the lips of both species are very similar. The lips of both species are honey-coloured with dark brown spots. The colour of Cyp. bardolphianum is generally slightly darker with a tendency to a reddish-brown while Cyp. forrestii is tending to a yellow tone. On the other hand there are many very clear differences in other characteristics. The staminode of Cyp. forrestii is commonly brown-spotted with a yellow grounding while the staminode of Cyp. bardolphianum is unicoloured in a reddish-brown tone. Also a crucial difference between both species is the perigon. The sepals of Cyp. forrestii are longer, nearly touching in front of the lip and than bending the tips outward. The sepals of Cyp. bardolphianum are uni-coloured in a dark brown tone with no spots while the sepals of Cyp. forrestii show a yellow, honey coloured grounding with distinctive brown spots. Very striking is the comb of hairs which many Cyp. forrestii plants show (like the hairs of an Iroquois as we say in Germany). Interestingly the colour of the comb shows two varieties, some plants have a dark brown comb while others have a white one. Cyp. bardolphianum never shows any similar hairs on the sepals.

The next two pictures show typical flowers of Cyp. bardolphianum from Sichuan.



The next five pictures show a variety of Cyp. forrestii flowers which were found in Yunnan.




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