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40th Anniversary, CUHK
Flower talks
Gastrochilus holttumianus S. Y. Hu & Barretto

With the inadequate herbarium and literature in Hongkong, we sent the illustrations to T. Tang. In reply Tang wrote that it was close to Saccolobium calceolare (Buch.-Ham) Lindl. On receipt of this information we consulted Holttum's book on Malayan Orchids and found this name being treated as a synonym of Gastrochilus calceolaris D. Don. As our specimen was very different from Holttum's description, we then sent the illustrations to Holttum for consultation. He wrote in reply: "Your specimen is not G. calceolaris, as you can see from the shape of the midlobe in my drawing. Your midlobe is a different shape and the midlobe of G. calceolaris has thick hairs on it whereas yours has none. I have looked through the description of species of Gastrochilus in Schlechter's work on the orchids of China (1919) and also in Seidenfaden and Smitinand's work on the orchids of Thailand, and Gagnepain's on the orchids of Indochina, and I cannot find anything to match your plant. I think you would be justified in describing it as a new species. . . . . . . the distinctive character of the Hong Kong Gastrochilus is the shape of midlobe of the lip (notched at the apex) and the fact that it has apparently no hairs, calli or other excrescences, nor a fringed margin."

Holttum went on to say: "I note that it was found on Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island. It is strange that no one found it previously. Saccolabium is a generic name established by Blume for a small-flowered orchid from Java. Lindley included in this genus a number of other orchids which had received other generic names, and Gastrochilus was one of these. When J. J. Smith and others came to know more species of orchids from southeastern Asia, they decided that Lindley had lumped too many different things together under Saccolabium, and revised some other names which they considered to represent distinct groups deserving of generic rank. I am of the opinion that Gastrochilus should be recognised as a genus distinct from Saccolablum, though it is much nearer to the original Saccolabium than is Rhyncostylis, which Lindley also included in Saccolabium.".

We take this opportunity of naming the new species of Gastrochilus, a genus hitherto unrecorded from Hong Kong, in honour of Professor R. E. Holttum, the foremost orchidologist for southeastern Asia.

New Species Found in Hong Kong by our team
(A section added to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

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