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