Paphiopedilum jackii Insitu (Vietnam Habitat) 2024

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DrLeslieEe

Scholar, Addict and Aficionado of Orchidacea
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Just two days ago I was very fortunate to follow Mr Canh to the Paphiopedilum jackii protected habitat in Vietnam. Along with two orchid addicts including Tom Mirenda and Jay Norris, we trekked through steep slopes and climbed limestones cliffs up to 450m.

Not having experiences in climbing anything, I was thrown into the arduous task of transversing sharp edges and clinging on to rocks and tree branches to prevent myself from plummeting to a premature demise… in addition to the heat, humidity and potential poisonous snakes! I definitely was not prepared for what I thought was a casual hike.

Through my sheer will and Canh’s ever persevering encouragement/coaching (plus gloves and blue rubber boots), I pushed myself forward with only one goal in mind… to see Paphiopedilums in the wild in Vietnam.

After climbing what seemed like hours, we finally reached the NE summit of the cliff. What unfolded before me stunned me! A whole population of about a hundred mature plants with 30 plus green flowers (with white staminodes) greeted us, ranked forward like little green soldiers facing the sun as if guarding the forest, overlooking the steep cliff.

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The plants grew semi-lithophytically in limestone crevices with dried leaves and soil around the roots. They were blooming in semi shade in the dry ‘winter’ season (which has high humidity and morning mist with occasional drizzle). The temperature range was 15-25C this period, warmer in the summer months. The good news is that I saw several seed pods developing!

It must be noted here that jackii formed a distinct species from its closest looking relative malipoense due to location (more south) , altitude (500m versus 1000m) and staminode shield color (no purple blotch like malipoense).

I must thank Mr. Canh and his guide Mr. Ban for their patience and guidance in encouragingly ‘pulling’ me (literally) towards my goal. We also had a good chat of working towards an ex-situ conservation project in concurrent with the in-situ protection. Hopefully the orchid lovers of the world can help raise funds to aid Vietnam to achieve this.

Here’s an IG link I hope you guys enjoy (and not notice my trembling from the climb lol):



PS did anyone notice the implausible ‘pollinator’ pretending to be invisible?
 
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Thanks Leslie for the great photos and the video which are very ipressive. 👍
How good that eventually everything went fine on you streanious hike and all of you came back in good conditions and safe and sound.
I'm looking forward to seeing you very soon in person.
 
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Just two days ago I was very fortunate to follow Mr Canh to the Paphiopedilum jackii protected habitat in Vietnam. Along with two orchid addicts including Tom Mirenda and Jay Norris, we trekked through steep slopes and climbed limestones cliffs up to 450m.

Not having experiences in climbing anything, I was thrown into the arduous task of transversing sharp edges and clinging on to rocks and tree branches to prevent myself from plummeting to a premature demise… in addition to the heat, humidity and potential poisonous snakes! I definitely was not prepared for what I thought was a casual hike.

Through my sheer will and Canh’s ever persevering encouragement/coaching (plus gloves and blue rubber boots), I pushed myself forward with only one goal in mind… to see Paphiopedilums in the wild in Vietnam.

After climbing what seemed like hours, we finally reached the NE summit of the cliff. What unfolded before me stunned me! A whole population of about a hundred mature plants with 30 plus green flowers (with white staminodes) greeted us, ranked forward like little green soldiers facing the sun as if guarding the forest, overlooking the steep cliff.

View attachment 45992View attachment 45989View attachment 45994View attachment 45991View attachment 45993

The plants grew semi-lithophytically in limestone crevices with dried leaves and soil around the roots. They were blooming in semi shade in the dry ‘winter’ season (which has high humidity and morning mist with occasional drizzle). The temperature range was 15-25C this period, warmer in the summer months. The good news is that I saw several seed pods developing!

It must be noted here that jackii formed a distinct species from its closest looking relative malipoense due to location (more south) , altitude (500m versus 1000m) and staminode shield color (no purple blotch like malipoense).

I must thank Mr. Canh and his guide Mr. Ban for their patience and guidance in encouragingly ‘pulling’ me (literally) towards my goal. We also had a good chat of working towards an ex-situ conservation project in concurrent with the in-situ protection. Hopefully the orchid lovers of the world can help raise funds to aid Vietnam to achieve this.

Here’s an IG link I hope you guys enjoy (and not notice my trembling from the climb lol):



PS did anyone notice the implausible ‘pollinator’ pretending to be invisible?

What a dream. Are they scented at all?
 
What a reward it must have been after such a difficult & potentially dangerous trekking!!
I hope you made it back down safely also.
Thanks for sharing! :)
 
what am awesome experience extremely jealous.... :)

to your question... are/were you suggesting that the caterpillar in the last photo is the pollinator?
Yes that little guy crawled around the flower, looking like a potential candidate as it did not eat any part of the bloom.

Implausible but possible!
 
Such an adventure and the experience is invaluable. Would you ever do it again in the future?
Yes! I might be doing these adventures in the future!

Aug 2024 Cattleya warscewiczii in Colombia

Oct 2025 Paph sanderianum in Borneo (maybe PNG for Dendrobium cuthbertsoniis or Paph leucochilum/godefroyae in Thailand added in?)

May 2026 Paph venustum in Nepal and India

Anyone care to join me?
 
What a reward it must have been after such a difficult & potentially dangerous trekking!!
I hope you made it back down safely also.
Thanks for sharing! :)
It was worth every sweat, bump and bruises. My foot slipped into a leaf covered crevice on the climb down a cliff and my right knee met the rock lol. But Canh was holding me from above. Thanks to him I’m now on the JFK flight back 🥹.
 
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