Hong Kong Lady's Slipper Orchid
Hong Kong Lady's Slipper Orchid Paphiopedilum purpuratum (Lindl.) Stein
IUCN Red List: CR
CITES: Appendix I
Photo © Dr Stephan Gale, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
About the Species
The Hong Kong Lady's Slipper Orchid is arguably our most iconic native plant species. Once relatively common in ravines and on hillsides throughout the territory, the species has suffered extensively as a result of habitat destruction and illegal collection for the horticultural trade. Plants are still targeted by poachers today, and are occasionally to be found on sale in downtown flower markets. The species’ global distribution is restricted to coastal mountains in Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and northern Vietnam, and with unabated threats throughout this range, its future very much hangs in the balance.
Specialist staff at KFBG have begun compiling information on the occurrence and ecology of the Hong Kong slipper orchid. The species’ relatively specific habitat requirements, and the long time taken for seedlings to reach adult size, flower and produce fruit, appear to be crucial factors limiting its recovery. Hence immense care is needed to maintain its wild populations. It is one of our priority species for conservation.