WEST PAPUA – The name of the Vice President of Indonesia H.E. Ma’ruf Amin’s wife, Hj. Wury Estu Handayani Ma’ruf Amin, is chosen to name the newly founded subspecies of orchid Dendrobium lancilabium J.J.Sm., D. lancilabium J.J.Sm. subsp.wuryae.
It is to honour her contribution to stimulate and support conservation, preservation and sustainable utilization of local flora, orchids in particular, and development in general in West Papua province.
The orchid was found in February 2020, when a team from West Papua’s Natural Resources Conservation Centre of the Ministry of Environment & Forestry, Republic of Indonesia (BBKSDA Papua Barat) and staff from the Indonesia team of Fauna & Flora International visited Waigeo’s highest mountain, Mount Nok, an 880 m high extinct volcano, during a fieldwork on this island.
Waigeo is an island of about 3,155 km² in the Raja Ampat archipelago off the coast of the western tip of Indonesian New Guinea.
The summit zone of this mountain is the type locality of Dendrobium azureum Schuit., a striking, blue-flowered species that had not been seen for almost 80 years since it was first collected in 1938 by British entomologist Evelyn Cheesman.
It was one of the highlights of the 2020 expedition to find this beautiful orchid (Knight, 2022), although it had already, and for the first time, been photographed by FFI staff in the same locality in 2016.
According to the publication in OrchideenJournal, as observed in 2020, at least two other Dendrobium species of the same section, sect. Calyptrochilus, share the habitat with D. azureum: a white-flowered species which is possibly D. aphanochilum Kraenzl. (only photos seen by AS) and a bright red one that proved to be a new subspecies of the little-known D. lancilabium J.J.Sm.
The latter is endemic for Waigeo Island, with its typical subspecies (subsp. lancilabium) is found in most of the mountain ranges of the Vogelkop and Wandammen Peninsulas of western New Guinea.
Epiphyte on trees 8–12 m above the ground in moss/mist forest, at 820 m altitude, while flowering is observed in February.