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Two-coloured Bulbophyllum

Two-coloured Bulbophyllum Bulbophyllum bicolor Lindl.
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
IUCN Red List: Not Evaluated
CITES: Appendix II

Photo © Dr Stephan Gale, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden

About the Species

Bulbophyllum bicolor is a lithophytic* or epiphytic* orchid that occurs only in Hong Kong and isolated parts of southeast China and northern Vietnam. It is an attractive species with large glossy leaves and distinctive, angled pseudobulbs*; from May to June it bears clusters of orange and purple flowers. In Hong Kong, the species has been found at only a limited number of sites, and although it can form large colonies, its total population size is thought to amount to fewer than 250 individuals. Accordingly, it is ranked as Endangered following application of IUCN criteria at the regional level. Given its precarious status in the wild and its relevance to Hong Kong, we have selected it is a priority species for conservation.


Conservation Action

To pinpoint the causes of decline and the life history factors which may be limiting the species’ recovery, a solid understanding of its ecology is required. Extraneous threats, including illegal collection and habitat degradation, may also be affecting the species’ survival. To determine whether its population is suffering as a result of such impacts, monitoring of the subpopulations is required. Our specialists are now collecting ecological data to assess the key causes of rarity in this threatened plant.

* Epiphytic – a plant growing on another plant, but not obtaining nutrients from it. Many orchids, mosses and bromeliads are epiphytes.

* Lithophytic – a plant growing on rock, and obtaining nutrients largely from the atmosphere

* Pseudobulb – a storage organ in an orchid, derived from the part of the rhizome* between two leaf nodes.

* Rhizome – the creeping stem of a plant.