New Species of Orchid Named After Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen

The new species Spathoglottis Jetsuniae, is a striking terrestrial orchid, first discovered accidently by the staff of the National Biodiversity Centre on 3rd November 2016, in the remote region of Ngangla-Kaktong of Zhemgang.

New Species of Orchid Named After Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen. (Source: http://thebhutanese.bt)

 

The Spathoglottis Jetsuniae is a new and striking orchid species discovered and named in honour of Her Majesty Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck according to the National Biodiversity Centre.

Discovery of the new species Spathoglottis Jetsuniae

The new species Spathoglottis Jetsuniae, is a striking terrestrial orchid, first discovered accidently by the staff of the National Biodiversity Centre on 3rd November 2016, in the remote region of Ngangla-Kaktong of Zhemgang during the ground composition survey for two other species of orchids, namely the Paphiopedilum fairrieanum and Paphiopedilum venustum Pfitzer.

This striking terrestrial orchid in full bloom was found growing inside the selected plot, which was at an elevation of 1038m with a soil pH of 7.1 – 7.8. Currently, the other known locations of this species are the remote villages of Martshala and Sarjung in Samdrup Jongkhar, where this species is found growing on limestone outcrops together with the P. fairrieanum.

Places where the genus Spathoglottis can be found

The genus Spathoglottis currently consists of about 50 species with some additional varieties and natural hybrids, distributed from India, Nepal, Bhutan, much of tropical and subtropical SE Asia, China, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

The Orchid Flora of Bhutan (Pearce & Cribb, 2002) lists only one species of Spathoglottis from Bhutan, namely the Spathoglottis ixioides which is a rather small and yellow-flowered species.

Therefore, the discovery of this new and striking Spathoglottis is a welcome addition to the increasing number of orchid and other floral species in the country as well as to the world orchid flora.

The Spathoglottis Jetsuniae is closely related and rather similar to the Spathoglottis hardingiana  which is not recorded in the country as of now.

It is however distinguishable from S. hardingiana in having almost a smooth inflorescence and pedicels as opposed to the distinctly hairy inflorescence and pedicels in S. hardingiana. A purplish flower (turns white when mature) with the distinctly yellow lip of the Spathoglottis Jetsuniae also makes it distinct from S. hardingiana which has a pale mauve lip.

 

By the Staff of the Bhutanese (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared in The Bhutanese.

 


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