Five New Orchid Species Discovered in Remote Mountains of Mindanao

Five New Orchid Species Discovered in Remote Mountains of Mindanao

new orchid species Mindanao

dendrobium lydiae Image Source:

Last June 24, 2016, Friday, conservationists said that there are five new species of orchid discovered in Mindanao’s remote mountains which are currently being protected from poaching due to an insurgency in the region. The said species can only be found in a mountain range which is a rebellion-torn area in Mindanao. As said by expert Miguel David de Leon who found the species while trekking the mountains of Bukidnon, a plant and wildlife conservationist, the species have eluded cataloguing for 200 years.

In the Philippines, poaching of wild orchids chiefly by locals is rampant, with some communities illegally harvest them without having permits, to sell them along roads or for export. But due to some Mindanao areas that have been afflicted by one of the longest-running insurgencies in Asia, with the Maoist guerillas around retaining support among the poor in the mountainous and farming communities, poachers are prevented from entering the forests.

“The insurgency problem helps prevent poachers or would-be orchid-hunters from entering the forests,” said De Leon. “These areas are very isolated. The terrain is treacherous, accessible only by foot and occasionally, a motorcycle or horse.”

As first published in the German OrchideenJournal this year, the finds include a dazzling yellow bloom flecked with brown spots. As decribed by De Leon, it is one of the most attractive among members of the genus, compared to the other species of red and purple, it stands out because of its brightest shade of yellow.

To honor outgoing Philippine President Benigno Aquino III whose family have been using the color yellow in political rallies, De Leon, Australian taxonomist Jim Cootes and Filipino research associate Mark Arcebal Naive named their find Epicrianthes aquinoi.

A pure white and red-lipped white Dendrobium, a green slipper orchid with red stripes and a dark red Epicrianthes are the other species they discovered.

“We need to preserve what is left because the variation within the different species is so high that it is almost priceless,” said Cootes who has written three books regarding Philippine orchids saying that their recent discoveries present the rich biodiversity of the Southeast Asian nation and that there are more species waiting to be discovered. “The mountains throughout the archipelago need to be preserved.”

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