A new synonym of the endangered species Paphiopedilum papuanum (Orchidaceae)

This article has been published on Telopea Volume 25: 319–321 which can be downloaded through this link https://doi.org/10.7751/telopea16282



Paphiopedilum sandyanum Cavestro and G. Benk is a newly published species from Moluccas, Indonesia. After meticulous examination and morphological comparisons, it has been concluded that P. sandyanum is conspecific with P. papuanum. Comparison of morphological characters between these two species are discussed below. Moreover, information on newly discovered P. papuanum distribution in the neighbouring areas of P. sandyanum type locality is provided.

Keywords: Paphiopedilum sandyanum, papuanum, endangered, Papua, synonym.



Paphiopedilum papuanum (Ridl.) L.O.Williams was established based on a single species published before as Cypripedium papuanum Ridl (Williams, 1946). The plant had been collected by C. B. Kloss on the British Wollaston expedition in Mount Carstensz, New Guinea. This species is closely related to Paphiopedilum violascens Schltr., which Schlechter had described only four years earlier and came from the eastern part of New Guinea (Schlechter, 1911). P. papuanum is characterized by thick, leathery, tesselated leaves, one-flowered inflorescence, oblong and obtuse petal with blackish dots at the base, and lunatum-reniform staminode (Ridley, 1915). P. papuanum is currently placed in the Paphiopedilum section Barbata (Albert and Pettersen 1994).

Recently, Paphiopedilum sandyanum Cavestro and G.Benk was published as a new species of Paphiopedilum section Barbata from Maluku Tenggara Regency, Moluccas, Indonesia (Cavestro and Benk, 2022). The authors first compared their Moluccas material with P. mastersianum and P. schoseri occurring on the Moluccas and then with P. violascens from New Guinea. However, they did not compare P. sandyanum with P. papuanum which has more similarities. We could not check the type specimen because it is not yet deposited in Herbarium Bogoriense. We also confirmed to the P. sandyanum collector, Sandy Jacop, he stated that specimen type is not deposited yet and still under treatment to get a good specimen.

Upon examination of the morphological descriptions from the P. sandyanum and P. papuanum protologues, we found that both species having ovate and hairy bract, ovate dorsal sepal, oblong and slightly spatulate petals with blackish dots at the base, and lunate to reniform staminode (Table 1). There is no significant deviation from the typical form were found that would possibly justify classification as geographic variety or forma. In addition, one of us (RS) discovered P. papuanum in Fakfak Regency (Fig. 1), which is bordering the P. sandyanum locality in Maluku Tenggara Regency. Based on the above data, P. sandyanum and P. papuanum are conspecific.


Taxonomic treatment

Paphiopedilum papuanum (Ridl.) L.O.Williams, Bot. Mus. Leafl. 12: 149. 1946. Type: Indonesia, Papua Province, Irian Jaya, Mt. Carstenz, elev. 762 m, Kloss s.n. (holotype: BM!).

= Paphiopedilum sandyanum Cavestro and G.Benk, Die Orchidee 8(07):46. 2022, syn. nov. Type: INDONESIA: Moluccas: Maluku Province, Kabupaten Maluku Tenggara, 300–400 m asl, 15 March 2022. (holotype: BO!, not yet deposited).


Fig. 1. Front view of (A) Paphiopedilum papuanum from Fakfak Regency and (B) Paphiopedilum sandyanum from Moluccas. Photos by Reza Saputra (A) and Gus Benk (B).


Table 1. Comparison of morphological characters between P. papuanum and P. sandyanum

Characters P. papuanum P. sandyanum
Leaves color pale green with darker green markings on the ripper face green and mottled pale green on upper surface
Bract ovate, hairy, 1.3 cm long elliptic-ovate, pubescent, 1.5 cm long
Dorsal sepal ovate, acute, 2.4 x 2 cm ovate, obtuse, 2.8–3 x 2 cm
Synsepal elliptic-lanceolate, subacute, 1.9 x 0.8 cm cordiform, obtuse, 2 x 1.8 cm (1.95 x 1.65 cm in drawing)
Petals oblong, broadening slightly upwards, obtuse 4.2  x 1.2 cm, dull crimson dotted with darker spots in the lower half obliquely oblong, slightly spatulate, obtuse, 4–4.6 x 1.5 cm (4.6 x 1.43 cm in drawing), brown spotted in lower basal half
Labellum 3.7 cm long ca. 4 cm long (4.1 cm in drawing)
Staminode lunate to reniform lunate to reniform

Notes: Characters of P. papuanum were based on Ridley (1915: 131) description, meanwhile characters of P. sandyanum were based on Cavestro and G.Benk (2022: 45-46) description and Sandy Jacop’s drawing.

Specimen examined: INDONESIA: New Guinea: Papua Barat Province, Fakfak Regency, Fakfak Mountains, 792 m asl, 22 January 2022, Reza 412 (MAN!, BO!).

Conservation status: Currently, P. papuanum is categorized in The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as endangered species. Moreover, this species is illegally exported for regional and international trade for horticultural purposes and hybridization (Rankou 2015). Based on Indonesian Regulation (Keputusan Menteri Kehutanan No. 447/Kpts-II/2003), all wild plants species need transport permit that called as Surat Angkut Tumbuhan Dalam Negeri (SATDN) for regional shipping. Regrettably, P. sandyanum specimen did not have SATDN transport permit from Moluccas Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Maluku). In other words, P. sandyanum was illegally transported from Moluccas to Java.



We would like to thank Moluccas Natural Resources Conservation Agency for checking March to April 2022 transport permit (SATDN). Also, to Gus Benk for the permission to use his P. sandyanum photograph. R.S. would like to thank Cambridge Conservation Initiative for funding Fakfak orchid exploration through Tony Whitten Conservation Award 2021.



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Cavestro W, Benk G (2022) Paphiopedilum sandyanum Cavestro et G. Benk – a New Species from the Moluccas in Indonesia. Die Orchidee 8(07):41–47.

Keputusan Menteri Kehutanan Republik Indonesia (2003) Tata usaha pengambilan atau penangkapan dan peredaran tumbuhan dan satwa liar (Nomor 447/Kpts-II/2003).

Rankou H (2015) Paphiopedilum papuanum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T43321681A43327934.en

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