365 days of orchids – day 30 – Paphiopedilum appletonianum

paph appletonianum flower

This fantastic Paphiopedilum comes from a wide range across across South East Asia; Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. It is reported as growing as a terrestrial in deep shade under evergreen forests.

Most Paphiopedilums are pollinated by wasps or hover flies and it has been suggested that they are attracted by fake aphids on the flower. To check this out we took a close up and found these amazing iridescent lumps around the top of the pouch shaped lip. (photo below)

Paphiopedilum appletonianum

Perhaps these do attract the pollinator especially as they reflect UV light really well and would show up clearly in the low light of the forest floor. If anyone else knows anything about iridescence in paphs we would love to hear from you.

We grow our Paphs in Warm Asia and keep them well shaded throughout the year to replicate their shady forest homes.

Here are the same iridescent lumps under UV

paph appletonianum UV

And just because we have now got excited about iridescence we have found that Paphiopedilum tonsum (orchid day 6) also has bright iridescent spots near the top of the pouch. (see below in UV)

paph tonsom UV


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