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New orchid species discovered in southwest China

BEIJING (XINHUA) – Chinese researchers have discovered a new orchid species in a giant panda habitat in Sichuan Province, said the Chengdu Institute of Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Friday.

The new species, Gastrochilus wolongensis, was named after the Wolong area of the Giant Panda National Park.

It was first found in the park in November 2020 by researchers from the institute and workers at the nature reserve.

After a long-term observation, the researchers collected its flower specimens and identified it as a new orchid species.

The institute said further analysis showed the new species was closely related to the known Gastrochilus ciliaris and Gastrochilus formosanus.

It added that Gastrochilus was a genus of a plant belonging to the orchid family.

Among the 58 species under the genus, 17 were endemic to China.

The finding was recently published in the journal Ecosystem Health and Sustainability.

An orchid plant at the Fuligong Greenhouses at Kunming Botanical Garden in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. PHOTO: XINHUA
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