Ecology of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum at the type locality in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia)

van der Ent, Antony, van Vugt, Rogier and Wellinga, Simon (2015) Ecology of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum at the type locality in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia). Biodiversity and Conservation, 24 7: 1641-1656. doi:10.1007/s10531-015-0881-0


Author van der Ent, Antony
van Vugt, Rogier
Wellinga, Simon
Title Ecology of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum at the type locality in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia)
Formatted title
Ecology of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum at the type locality in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia)
Journal name Biodiversity and Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1572-9710
0960-3115
Publication date 2015-07-22
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10531-015-0881-0
Open Access Status
Volume 24
Issue 7
Start page 1641
End page 1656
Total pages 16
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Kluwer Academic Publishers
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Rothschild’s slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum rothschildianum), originating from Kinabalu Park in the Malaysian state of Sabah, on Borneo Island, is one of the most famous orchid species in the world. It caused a sensation when it was first discovered in the nineteenth century, and the precise details of its habitat were long kept a (trade) secret. The species is now widely available as a result of artificial propagation in culture, but the ecology of this species in the wild remained largely unknown. An expedition was organised by the authors to collect detailed habitat information, and to perform chemical analysis on P. rothschildianum leaves and associated rhizosphere soils. The species occurs on serpentinite (ultramafic) landslides at 500–1800 m asl on slightly acidic (means ranging from pH 5.8–6.7) soils with a cation exchange complex dominated by magnesium. The nutrient status (rhizosphere soil concentrations of phosphorus and potassium) is low, both the plant-available fraction and the total concentrations. The extreme soil chemistry was also reflected in the P. rothschildianum leaf chemistry with low concentrations of these elements and low foliar nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Reciprocal transplantation of P. rothschildianum on non-ultramafic soils has proven successful, which shows that soil chemistry is not limiting its growth, at least in culture. Rather, P. rothschildianum is restricted to open vegetation with a lack of competition brought about by a very unusual combination of factors: recurring landslides setting back vegetation succession, and extreme soil chemistry limiting plant establishment. Finally, the IUCN Red List status of P. rothschildianum and other Paphiopedilum-species of Kinabalu Park was provisionally assessed.
Keyword Foliar chemistry
Landslides
Serpentinite
Slipper orchid
Ultramafic
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
Official 2016 Collection
Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
 
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