Bulbophyllum championii Photo: R. Amsler
Bulbophyllum longicaudatum Photos: R. Amsler
Abstract: Rudolf Jenny describes and illustrates Bulbophyllum championii, a new species from New Guinea.
While visiting the huge orchid collection at Roland Amsler's nursery in Sirnach, Switzerland, the author saw many unusual and interesting Bulbophyllum species. One such was a large, golden-flowered species, which proved to be new to science. R. Jenny describes it here for the first time as B. championii.
Bulbophyllum championii is similar to B. longicaudatum and B. nasica, both of which were originally described under other names. In 1909, Johan Jacob Smith described and illustrated Bulbophyllum blumei var. pumilum in the journal Nova Guinea. When Rudolf Schlechter published his treatment of the orchids of New Guinea in 1913, Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis, Beihefte, he raised Smith's Bulbophyllum blumei var. pumilum to the rank of species but changed the name to Bulbophyllum nasica because the name Bulbophyllum pumilum had already been used by Lindley in 1830. A second variety of Bulbophyllum blumei was published and illustrated by J.J. Smith in 1911, again in the journal Nova Guinea, as B. blumei var. longicaudatum. In 1914, Smith decided to accept this variety as a species in its own right and named it Bulbophyllum longicaudatum, in Bulletin du Jardin Botanique de Buitenzorg.
Bulbophyllum longicaudatum and Bulbophyllum nasica are both in section Ephippium (Note: Following G.A. Fischer & J.J. Vermeulen 2014 and J.J. Vermeulen et al. 2014, both species belong to section Polymeres. Section Ephippium is now used by J.J.Verm. & P.O'Byrne (2014) for a group of species former members of the section Cirrhopetalum s.l.) and are almost identical, except for the size of the tails of the lateral sepals. Some authors treat the two binomials as synonyms, others treat them as two distinct species. Both concepts are very variable in flower colouration, and both are widley distributed in New Guinea.
Bulbophyllum championii is similar to B. longicaudatum. However, the flowers of B. championii are golden yellow. They are a third to double the size of those of B. longicaudatum, the lateral sepals are much broader with longer tails, and the petals have a distinctly warty surface.
Roland Amsler first saw this species in the orchid collection of Jeffery Champion in Bedugul, on the island of Bali. Roland aquired several plants, which later flowered in his collection.
Published in The Orchid Review, June 2019: 91 - 95.