As you can see I’m sat next to a
Cypripedium a type of slipper orchid there’s about 30 species
present in China the majority of those are endemic.
This particular one is Cypripedium yunnanense, it’s endemic to the state
of Yunnan. It’s very closely related to a couple of other species that we’re
also gonna see, Cypripedium tibeticum and hopefully calcicola. This one is
characterised by its smaller flowers and generally diminutive stature,
whereas tibeticum and calcicola, as you’ll see later, hopefully, are much larger plants but
certainly no less beautiful. Actually I had no idea that they have
their scent and this one has a very faint sweet perfume which is rather nice. These three flowers are of the orchid
Cypripedium tibeticum so called because it’s found
in Tibet but it’s also fairly widespread in western China it’s
one of the larger the purple flowers of the Cypripedium species. For the third and final species Cypripedium calcicola we’ve traveled into Sichuan the adjacent province. Cypripedium calcicola was once included within Cypripedium tibeticum, as you can see they are very similar, but its flowers are characterized by
extremely dark coloration and the absence of a white ring around the mouth. These plants are very very threatened and classified in IUCN Red List annex 1 so the trading is heavily restrict internationally. Even so they are threatened by a variety of difference human activities including agriculture
and in this case tunnelling which is undermining their habitat directly.