Initial Identification of a New Species

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JAB

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Please excuse how remedial this question is, but suppose you are wondering through the jungle and stumble upon a brand new, never before seen slipper orchid. Now is the initial classification dependent on whether you are in the New World or Old World? Meaning if in Laos it would be grouped into Paphiopedilum, and Peru most likely would be Phragmipedilum?

Hopefully that makes sense...
Thanks
JAB
 

NYEric

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I would think that it would depend on the slipper orchid: Phrags are not Paphs , are not Selenipedium, are not Cyps... and of course, as noted above.
 

kentuckiense

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Right. Fortunately, our slipper orchids tend to fall in to easy geographic patterns: IE Paphiopedilum in Asia and Phragmipedium in Central and South America. However, if a slipper orchid were discovered in South America that exhibited characteristics of Paphiopedilum (and grouped with Pahiopedilum in a DNA analysis), we would still call it a Paphiopedilum. The plant's lineage determines its name, not its location.
 

JAB

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Good point Lance.
Kentucky,
Thank you for the clarification. And of course I was painting a broad, general stripe. Which begs the following question... let us suppose it could be a Paph in Peru, or a Phrag in Laos... would DNA analysis be the next step? And when one says DNA analysis we are talking chromosome count, correct?

Thanks
Jake
 

kentuckiense

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Good point Lance.
Kentucky,
Thank you for the clarification. And of course I was painting a broad, general stripe. Which begs the following question... let us suppose it could be a Paph in Peru, or a Phrag in Laos... would DNA analysis be the next step? And when one says DNA analysis we are talking chromosome count, correct?

Thanks
Jake
I don't honestly know what the next step would be, but the last time I actually looked in to it (probably 4 years ago), internally transcribed spacer regions of ribosomal DNA tend to be be what is looked at for DNA-based systematic analyses.
 

gonewild

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When I was a kid I learned all slippers as Cypripediums, all called Cyps by growers. Then the grownups all started complaining about having to change labels and learn new names, Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Cypripedium. Everyone for years still just continued to refer to them all as Cyps, no one could pronounce Paphiopedilum.
 

PaphMadMan

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The known slipper orchids can all easily be told apart by genus looking at just 2 physical characteristics, with one small exception. Paphs, Phrags and Mexipedium have conduplicate (one fold) leaves; Cyps and Selenipedium have plicate (many fold) leaves. Cyps, Paphs and Mexipedium have unilocular (1 chamber) ovaries; Phrags and Selenipedium have trilocular (3 chamber) ovaries. Only Paphs and Mexipedium aren't distinguishable, and that is just 2 characteristics. Add geographic location and you sort out all genera. A knowledgeable taxonomist would have many more physical characteristics to use in a formal treatment. They would certainly not wait for DNA analysis to publish unless perhaps they did suspect a new genus.


When I was a kid I learned all slippers as Cypripediums, all called Cyps by growers. Then the grownups all started complaining about having to change labels and learn new names, Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Cypripedium. Everyone for years still just continued to refer to them all as Cyps, no one could pronounce Paphiopedilum.
I knew some of those people too, alive at least into the 1990s. It takes at least 2 generations of orchid growers to die off before you stop hearing complaints about "new" names.
 

gonewild

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I knew some of those people too, alive at least into the 1990s. It takes at least 2 generations of orchid growers to die off before you stop hearing complaints about "new" names.
It was in the early 1960s that the name changed. I think there are still one or two left alive but they probably would deny ever knowing what a Paphiopedilum is.
 

JAB

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Thanks Kirk! That helps a ton!
 

JAB

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Thanks Mormodes! Fascinating blog, but completely a pain in the staminode to navigate!!!
 
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