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40th Anniversary, CUHK
Flower talks
Liparis ruybarrettoi S. Y. Hu & Barretto

This species is closely related to the epiphytic orchid, Liparis plicata, which was originally described from Japan. According to Ohwi's Flora of Japan (1965 ed.) the Japanese species has short bracts 3-5 mm. long, dorsal sepal 6-7 mm. long, and lip rounded, truncate, smooth at the apex, with 2 indistinct calli at the base. In comparison, L. ruybarrettoi. has bracts 8-10 mm. long, the dorsal sepal 10 mm. long or longer, the tongue-like lip truncate, wavy and denticulate at the apex, and the anther cap ovate-lanceolate, long-produced at the apex. These characteristics distinguish this species from the Japanese one and also from the Liparis plicata in Hong Kong. For four years we have observed and checked these characters with fresh material from different collections, and found them constant. The species has been compared with various known Liparis in Hong Kong. On February 23, 1973, we wrote to Professor Holttum, enclosing analytical drawings of the plant and asked him to check for L. kwangtungensis Schltr., which was described from Lohfoushan, about 100 miles away from the locality where our material was collected. His reply of March 3, 1973, stated. "I have looked up the description of L. kwangtungensis Schlechter, and find that it is certainly different, having sepals 4 mm. long, a labellum 4 mm. long, 2 mm. wide at the apex, with a quadrate callus at the base. I also found L. uchiyamae Schltr. from the Ryukyu Is., which is nearer to yours, but it has sepals 7 mm. long, apex of labellum rounded and paucidentate; it has a bilobed basal callus. Liparis taiwaniana Hayata has flowers of about the same size as yours, but the pseudobulbs are 2-leaved, and the anther cap is very different. Hayata published an illustration (Ic. Pl. Formos. 4, pl. 7). Schlechter did not publish illustrations of either species above mentioned. "We have also received a letter from Peter Taylor, with xeroxed copies of Schlechter's original description of L. kwangtungensis. After comparing the description of the different organs, it appears definitely that the Hong Kong plant is an undescribed species, and it is named for Ruy Barretto.

More extensive surveys indicate that specimens of related species found in Hong Kong have smaller flowers, with anther caps notched at the apex. The bracts, sepals and calli of these plants approach those described from Japan. It is assumed that these specimens represent Liparis plicata. Although L. plicata is found on Taimoshan, there is little chance for cross-pollination with L. ruybarrettoi because of the time difference in flowering. The former flowers from September to November, and the latter from December to February.

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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