Cypripedium macranthos f. rebunense

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KyushuCalanthe

Just call me Tom
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Kyushu, Japan; warm temperate/subtropical climate
Last week my wife and I got to visit Rebun Island, northernmost of Japan's islands and home to C. macranthos f. rebunense. Unfortunately I didn't get to see the wild colony because the flowers had passed, and it is strictly controlled so I couldn't gain access legally. I did get a couple snapshots from the roadside of the habitat, but no plants were visible. I did get to see a few in flower at a botanical garden nearby. Here's a few pictures.
RishiriSM.JPG

Most folks think that this plant has really yellow flowers, but the truth is that most are more white. Occasionally, a clone will be either cream colored, or even more "yellow" in cast. The flowers we saw were all covered in fungus spotting due to the rains and continuous sea fog so typical of this island. We got to see them on June 17th, and their flowering period recently is more like the first couple weeks of June, so we were about 10 days late for peak bloom. Kind of a bummer, but that's life. A few decades ago the flowering season was mid June to early July... how things change.
CypRebunCLMPWSM.JPGCypRubenFLYSM.JPG
We also saw a C. macranthos "hoteiatsumorianum" in flower at the garden. There are colonies of this around the island, but again, these were out of flower. The habitat of these plants is open grassland in full sun, or on the margins of low growing coniferous forest (mostly fir). Hopefully one day I can return at a better time to see them, but money and time is limiting. Travel in Japan is remarkably expensive!
CypHoteiFLSM.JPG
 
Thank you for sharing! Glad you got to see some of them even if it's at a botanical garden setting.
You travelled far up! I really wanted to squeeze Hokkaido in my last trip to Japan but the stretch of the country is much bigger than I thoguht. Plus, it was covered in snow still. Maybe next time!! I'd love to go back ideally in May although I realize that is their "golden" week or month where many Japanese people travel around the country to enjoy and celebrate spring and all the joy & beauty the season offers.
Either that, or straight to the northern part in early June. will have to see.

Good friends of mine are visitng southern part of Honshu and they say it is already very hot and humid. Summer is arriving sooner and sooner, I guess. The locals told them this is nothing, just wait until it's August. lol
 
Tom, thanks for the photos of plants and the volcano Rishiri and you informative report. Had a look at the map and saw the Russian island Sakhalin isn't far away from Rebun.
 
@Dr. L - Without a doubt this plant is “just” a form of the widespread C. macranthos. Similar plants can be seen in nearby Russia and northern China, though on mainland Asia things are confounded by the presence of C. calceolus and the natural hybrid C. x ventricosum (C. calceolus x C. macranthos). In those areas hybrid swarms occur with loads of introgression between plants. In the past all of Hokkaido was connected to the mainland through Sakhalin Island, and undoubtedly that is how these plants came to Rebun. Interestingly, this form does not exist on the mainland of Hokkaido itself.

@Happypaphy7 - Agreed, although Japan is seen as a small country, it is spread out, with the southernmost islands at the same latitude as Key West, and Rebun Island equivalent to Montreal. I’d imagine that early May in Hokkaido would be rather chilly still. June is much more pleasant. The month of June into early July is the summer monsoon here in the south, so it rains and rains and rains, but at least temperatures stay below 30 C most days. After that, the oven indeed turns on!

@Rudolf - Yes, actually we could see the southernmost tip of Sakhalin Island on the ferry boat ride to Rebun. At Wakkanai Port where we embarked, the signs were written in Japanese AND Russian!

@Berthold - I remember you got those plants. I hope they did well for you.
 
Nice. Is it in flower now, or was that earlier in the season?
Tom, unfortunately no, the plant was seen alive for the last time in April 2020. I don't know what the normal life expectancy of this plant species is.
 

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I don't think it has a certain life expectancy like many perennials.
They live on for many years growing into a large clump when the conditions are right.
Perhaps it was eaten by animals? Or it just perished according to its own time for whatever the reason?
What a loss though as the white flower was quite charming!
 
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What a loss though as the white flower was quite charming!
It had a yellow flower, it was not an albino with a white flower.
As I've heard, albinos of rebunense are supposed to really exist, but I'm unsure.
 
Oh, ok.
The flower appears white in your first photo. The second looks yellow/light green and I just assumed it was because it was fresh open.
 
Gosh, didn't mean to illicit a philosophical discourse about life and death. I personally would have hoped for them to live a bit longer, especially at the price they go for.

I don't know anything about albino vs. "yellow" flowered forms of this plant, but suffice it to say that the lion's share are decided white in color. Cream colored ones seem the next most common, and ones with deeper hues more rare. None IMO could be called truly yellow in color.
 
I don't think it has a certain life expectancy like many perennials.
They live on for many years growing into a large clump when the conditions are right.
Are the large clumps formed by generative propagation or by vegetative propagation?
This is a big difference in relation to the normal life expectancy of this species.
 
I don't know anything about albino vs. "yellow" flowered forms of this plant, but suffice it to say that the lion's share are decided white in color. Cream colored ones seem the next most common, and ones with deeper hues more rare. None IMO could be called truly yellow in color.
Here is the color of the first flower in May 2016. I think it's one of the 50 shades of Yellow.
The albino form is different.
 

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Gosh, didn't mean to illicit a philosophical discourse about life and death.
Tom, the background is not a philosophical discourse, but the question is if there are faults in the culture or in weather.
I have an influence on the culture, but not on the weather. I'll leave that to the other Germans in the world.
 
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Are the large clumps formed by generative propagation or by vegetative propagation?
This is a big difference in relation to the normal life expectancy of this species.
Sorry, I was just speaking in general terms not specifically for this particular species.
I remember seeing a colony of Cypripedium japonicum in Korea as a kid and a colony of a couple of Cypripedium species in America.
I could not get too close to C. japonicum so I can't tell for sure if they were individual plants scattered around or clumps, I assume a mix of both. But the ones I saw in the States, they definitely formed a huge clump as a plant as I could get right up close to the plant to examine.
 
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