Newsletter

Habenaria carnea N. E. Brown

by Wendy Yong Sze Yee

Habenaria carnea N. E. Brown belongs to the family Orchidaceae. This species has only been collected from the forested limestone outcrops of Perlis and Langkawi Island in Malaysia; and Peninsular Thailand. In Perlis, Habenaria carnea is commonly found growing on shaded and damp forest floor. This species becomes dormant during the annual drought (from January to March) as do other deciduous orchid species. The above-ground vegetative parts of the plant wither and die after flowering, leaving the tuber dormant below the ground. Buds at the tip of the tuber begin sprouting at the onset of the warm and wet season (from April to September), forming a new leafy shoot with a terminal inflorescence. It has beautiful pink flowers, spirally arranged, on a rachis.

Formerly, the leaves of Habenaria carnea were described as being olive green with whitish dots, with one variety having unspotted green leaves in Holttum (1964) and Seidenfaden and Wood (1992). However, we have since discovered that the leaves of Habenaria carnea change colour when the plant begins to flower. Juvenile plants collected in August 2003 from Bukit Rongkit had brown leaves with whitish spots at the time they were collected. Two of the juvenile plants were then transplanted to the greenhouse at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, for further observation. When the plants began flowering in September 2003, the colour of the leaves gradually changed from brown with whitish spots to green with whitish spots. By the time the flowers were in full bloom, the leaves were all green with whitish spots (Yong, 2006). The cause of the change in leaf color observed above is not completely understood. To date the variety with unspotted green leaves mentioned by Holttum has not been found in Perlis.

Habenaria carnea has been collected from the wild for use in the ornamental plant trade. Orchid hobbyists and growers find the plant appealing due to its decorative leaves and attractive flowers. Uncontrolled collection of the species from the wild is therefore the main threat to its survival. Conservation action is needed to ensure that sustainable populations continue to survive and flourish in our Malaysian limestone forests.

References

  1. Seidenfaden, G. & Wood, J.J. (1992). The Orchids of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. A Revision of R.E. Holttum: Orchids of Malaya. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew & Botanic Garden, Singapore. pp. 779.

Species Profile

QR Code
Scan QR code for mobile experience

Other articles

Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh. (Sapindaceae)

Syazwani Bt. Azeman   •   31 May 2019   •   71 views

Sandoricum koetjape (Burm.f.) Merr. (Meliaceae)

Norzielawati Bt. Salleh   •   30 Apr 2019   •   200 views

Platycerium coronarium (Konig ex Muller) Desv. (Polypodiaceae)

Syahida Emiza Suhaimi & Ahmad Syahir Zaini   •   31 Mar 2019   •   208 views

Gnetum gnemon L. (Gnetaceae)

Norzielawati Bt. Salleh   •   28 Feb 2019   •   289 views

Dryobalanops rappa Becc. (Dipterocarpaceae)

Syahida Emiza Suhaimi & Ahmad Syahir Zaini   •   31 Jan 2019   •   331 views
Get updates and an exclusive news when you sign up to our free newsletter.
Malaysia Biodiversity Information System (MyBIS)
Copyright © 2019, Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources (KATS). All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER - The Malaysian Government, and Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources (KATS) shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused by the usage of any information obtained from this website. By entering this site, you acknowledge and agree that no portion of this site, including but not limited to names, logos, trademarks, patents, sound, graphics, charts, text, audio, video, information or images are either MyBIS property or the property permitted by third-party and shall not be used without prior written approval from the owner(s).
Best viewed using latest Mozila Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 10 with Resolution 1024 x 768px or above. Version 2.0 / 2016