The International Union for the Conservation of Nature published its annual update of its Red List of Threatened Species on Thursday 12 June 2014, marking the 50th year of the list's existence, and revising the status of a number of Plant and Animal species from around the world. One species included on the list for the first time is the Freckled Cypripedium, Cypripedium lentiginosum, a Slipper Orchid native to southeastern Yunnan Province, China, and Ha Giang Province, Vietnam, which is thought to have less than 100 mature individuals surviving in the wild.
Freckled Cypripedium, Cypripedium lentiginosum. Orchid Species/The Himalayan Nursery.
Cypripedium lentiginosum occurs naturally in small colonies or as individual plantsin mossy forests, thickets, scrub and open woodland at altitudes of between 2100 and 2200 m. It grows on moist humus-rich or shallow mineral-soils on limestone beneath the shade of Rhododendron, Ash or Wingnut Trees. The species has been severely impacted by over-collection for the horticulture industry, and other human impacts on its environment. Tourism and other leisure activities encroaching on its natural range seem to impact it badly, and it does not recover well from trampling or habitat disturbance. It is also threatened by deforestation, drought and climate change.
Cypripedium lentiginosum is already protected under Apendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and it is also recommended that that the plant receives additional protection in its home range specific to its needs and is better studied to gain a more thorough understanding of its ecology and the threats it faces. It is further recommended that efforts are made to raise the public profile of the species, and that a captive breeding program is instigated with the aim of re-introducing the species within its native range.
Orchids of the genus Encyclia are widespread in the American tropics, living as epiphytes (plants that live on other plants, typically on the branches of rainforest trees), terrestrial herbs and on exposed rocks. They are found from Florida to northern Argentina, and live in a wide variety of habitats, including dry forests, seasonally dry forests, seasonally flooded, semi-deciduous and deciduous forests. They are herbaceous plants with fleshy leaves and large, showy, fragrant flowers.
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