Agriculture - - Na­tive Orchid -

A NEW DEN­DRO­BIUM ORCHID that blooms in the moun­tains of Bukid­non, Min­danao, at 1,300 me­ters el­e­va­tion, has been named in honor of Mrs. Ly­dia Chua Yap, grand­mother of Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, an orchid and for­est con­ser­va­tion­ist who is the Vice Chair­man and Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of the Manila Bul­letin. Mrs. Yap is the wife of Don Emilio T. Yap, for­mer chair­man of the Manila Bul­letin.

Dr. Miguel de Leon, who dis­cov­ered the species while trekking in the area last May, de­scribed the new orchid as “beau­ti­ful, hav­ing a pristinely white flower which lasts for sev­eral days.” He said the Den­dro­bium ly­diae “bor­rows char­ac­ter­is­tics of other sec­tions and yet it is dis­tinct.”

The au­thors of the de­scrip­tion, which was pub­lished in OrchideenJour­nal, are Jim Cootes, Dr. De Leon, and Mark Arce­bal Naïve.

“Den­dro­bium ly­diae is a rather unique mem­ber of sec­tion Cru­me­nata. The ow­ers gen­er­ally re­sem­ble those of Den­dro­bium min­danaense from sec­tion Strongyle, but they dif­fer in the at­tened leaves, and the very dif­fer­ently shaped la­bel­lum,” the de­scrip­tion said.

The char­ac­ter­is­tics of the orchid species were de­scribed in the OrchideenJour­nal as “sym­po­dial, up­right to pen­dent epi­phyte with stems grow­ing up to 1.5 cm long by 1.5 mm in di­am­e­ter, grad­u­ally en­larg­ing cylin­dri­cally into two nodes, which are con­stricted cen­trally, with a to­tal length of ap­prox­i­mately 4 cm by 1.4 cm in di­am­e­ter.”

The flower’s color is “pure white with pur­ple veins on the side lobes; there is a green­ish blotch on the cen­ter of the mid lobe; dor­sal sepal: ovate, apex acute, 1.1 cm long by 5 mm wide, three­veined.”

The petals were de­scribed as “lance­o­late, 1 cm long by 4 mm wide, sin­gle veined,” and the lat­eral sepals as “broadly fal­cate, 1.3 cm long by 6 mm wide, form­ing a short base; la­bel­lum (cen­tral petal) – three lobed, 1.2 cm long by 7 mm wide; side lobes rounded; mid lobe broadly ovate; there is a small patch of hairs on the mid lobe. Pedi­cel and ovary: ridged lon­gi­tu­di­nally, ta­per­ing grad­u­ally, 1.2 mm in di­am­e­ter by 7 mm long.”

Dr. De Leon, who got in­ter­ested in or­chids as an off­shoot of his be­ing a rap­tor con­ser­va­tion­ist and trekker, said the new species was named af­ter Yap’s grand­mother in recog­ni­tion of Yap’s orchid and for­est con­ser­va­tion ef­forts. De Leon ex­plained Yap’s pas­sion for con­ser­va­tion as ex­tend­ing to repli­cat­ing rare orchid species and dis­tribut­ing those to be planted in sim­i­lar habi­tats. De Leon ex­plained that an orchid species be­ing named af­ter a per­son or place is very sig­nif­i­cant as the name will be used in all fu­ture lit­er­a­ture to de­scribe the species. “It be­comes a sci­en­tif­i­cally-iden­ti­fied orchid and the name will stay for­ever,” he said.

There are two kinds of or­chids: a species and a hy­brid. A species grows in the wild while a hy­brid is man-made, he ex­plained. There are many hy­brid or­chids that have been named af­ter celebri­ties.

De Leon ex­plained that the dis­cov­ery of a new species is guided by the “Philip­pine Na­tive Orchid Species” book pub­lished in 2011 by Jim Cootes who is known as a “tax­onomist,” a bi­ol­o­gist who groups or­gan­isms into cat­e­gories.

De Leon, whose af­fec­tion for or­chids seems to be go­ing to­wards that di­rec­tion, is an oph­thal­mol­o­gist-vit­reo retina sur­geon. He calls him­self a “rap­tor con­ser­va­tion­ist.”

He also dis­cov­ered a new Epi­cri­anthes species and named it the Epi­cri­ante­hes aquinoi, in honor of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the 15th Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines. (Reprinted from the July 3, 2016 is­sue of Manila Bul­letin)

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