Life is Good

A New Orchid Species With a Fabulous Name: Mine

Eight new species have been discovered in the province of Bukidnon.
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I must say my inner nerd is quite thrilled at the moment.

Eight new species of orchids were recently discovered by scientists and taxonomists in the forests of Bukidnon. And to my absolute delight, one of them was named after...ahem...me. 

This is how its etymology was described by Dr. Miguel de Leon, one of the scientists of the Cootes Study Group who discovered the species, and who was given the privilege of naming it.

“Thrixspermum fernandeziae COOTES, CABACTULAN & M.D. DE LEON is a stunningly beautiful and uniquely ornamented new member of the species, fittingly named in honor of Yvette Fernandez, Town&Country magazine editor, best-selling children's book author and children's welfare advocate.”

Thrixspermum fernandeziae photographed by Miguel de Leon 

The flowers’ petals are radiantly white, with purple stripes on the labellum, and a smudge of orange. It’s a beautiful orchid, and I must admit I teared up with joy when I first saw its photograph.

It’s a species endemic to the Philippines and has only been found in Bukidnon about 1,600 meters above sea level.

Photos and descriptions of the species were released in the Orchideen Journal published in Germany after going through stringent verification procedures to confirm that they are indeed newly discovered species.

As De Leon says, “unlike hybrids which may soon be forgotten, species that are discovered and named find a permanent place in textbooks and natural science publications.”

De Leon says that the publishing of eight new species at one time is spectacular news.

Of the seven other species that were discovered, two species have descriptive specific labels while the others bear the names of different honorees. This how De Leon described them:

“Bulbophyllum anascaputum is named for the resemblance of its labellum to the head of a duck (Anas sp.). On a personal note, it reminds me of a species of duck endemic to the Philippines (Anas luzonica) we are endeavoring to conserve.

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Bulbophyllum anascaputum

“Dendrochilum geigeri is named in honor of Daniel Geiger, scientist, museum curator and one of the best macro photographers in the world. The species is unique in the genus with a leaf characteristic we have not seen in any of the named species.

Dendrochilum geigeri

“Dendrobium schettleri is a large-flowered and horticulturally desirable new member of a complex of Dendrobium species from section Calcarifera, found in a small locality. It bears the name of Roland Schettler, editor of OrchideenJournal.

Dendrobium schettleri

“Dendrobium derekcabactulanii is the second new member in the section. It honors my colleague and fellow member of the study group, Derek Cabactulan. Though only recently photographed in situ, it was Derek who first discovered the species in 2011.

Dendrobium derekcabactulanii

“Dendrobium reypimentelii is the third new member in the section. It is named in honor of Rey Pimentel, a plant breeder renowned for his work on producing the sweetest pineapples for Del Monte, his turn-of-the-century Hibiscus hybrids and many other ornamental plants.

Dendrobium reypimentelii

Glomera gastrodioides is a surprise find, many times passed over by members of the team, until the plant flowered and was photographed in situ.

Glomera gastrodioides

“Bulbophyllum migueldavidii. I discovered this species and we could have given it any other name. But I find this to be the most spectacular from section Stachysanthes and so asked the group to name it after me.”

Bulbophyllum migueldavidii

Thank you, Dr. Miguel. Life is good.

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Yvette Fernandez
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