3.1. The Discovery
The first sight and collection of this species was during a scientific expedition to Ulu Ketibas, Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in 2008 [10
]; subsequently, another population was discovered in Mulu National Park in 2016. In 2021, during an orchid rescue operation in Anap-Muput FMU active felling compartment (Figure 1
), we discovered a few of the same plants among the rescued plants. When the plant flowered in February 2022, coupled with our detailed consultation and study of all online (K, NHN-L, AMES, BM, BO, AUU, MNHN) and physical (SING, SAR, UPM, SAB) herbarium resources for all major Bornean orchid flora, we were finally confident to describe it as a new species. The process to validate this beautiful gem took us almost 14 years and involved extreme and harsh fieldwork environments and numerous herbarium study visits. This included hundreds of hours of laborious strenuous fieldwork tracking and herbarium specimens’ study. However, the long strenuous journey of this discovery is nothing when compared to the honour and joy of discovering new species to science and endemic to Sarawak, as this species is only found in Sarawak; hence, it is categorised as ‘Endangered’ according of IUCN Red List criteria and categories.
3.2. Taxonomic Treatment
affinis B. membranifolii
(J.J.Sm.) J.J.Verm. et B. membranifolii
Hook.f. subsp. membranifolii
) sed pseudobulbis cylindricis et longis, 4–10 × 0.3–0.5 cm. Folia linearia et longa, 18–20 × 1–1.5 cm. Flos non resupinatus. Sepala et petala alba vel pallide flava, striata septem roseo-purpurea. Labellum rubeum vel purpureum, reniformis, sparsum. Typus: MALAYSIA. Sarawak. Kapit, Song, Katibas, Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, Sg. Sekawi, 26 June 2006, ca. 100 m elev., R. Go, K.H.E. Khor, P. George, S. Sirukit, RG2081
(holotypus UPM!); Sarawak. Bintulu, Tatau, Anap-Muput FMU, Sg. Anap, 26 January 2021, ca. 100 m elev., R. Go, R. S. Pungga, K. Kerman, A. Sufian, P. Leong, E. W. Usi, M. Azeman, H. Victoria A-R-0168
(paratypus SAR!) (Figure 2
Morphological description: —Plants epiphytic herbs. Roots mainly below the pseudobulbs. Rhizome creeping, 2–3 mm diameter, brownish; bract persistent, membranous, greenish brown, old bracts brown and fibrous. Pseudobulbs 5–10 mm apart, narrowly oblong to cylindrical, terete, long, mature ones ¾ length of the leaf blade, sometimes almost the same length as the leaf blade, 4–10 × 0.3–0.5 cm, with shallow and inconspicuous furrows, basal covered by brown sheaths. Leaves sub-sessile, rather thin, narrowly oblong to narrowly linear blades, apex acute, 18–20 × 1–1.5 cm, medium green; petiole ca. 5 mm long, terete and groove above. Inflorescence about 3 cm, one-flowered, emerging from rhizome at the base of the pseudobulb, sometimes two inflorescences emerging from a single node that may resemble a raceme, basal part with subtending bracts; peduncle 12 mm long; pedicel-with-ovary 10–12 mm long, basal node of pedicel approximate level with the floral bract attachment, ovary 3.6 × 1.7 mm, with angular crests; floral bracts ovate, ca. 6 × 4 mm, apex acute. Flowers non-resupinate, unscented, ca. 5.5 cm long from tip of dorsal sepal to tip of lateral sepals when open, wide opening, ca 2.5 cm wide, sepals and petals glabrous, 6–8-veined; pedicel-with-ovary about 10 mm long, ovary ribs with angular crests. Dorsal sepal rather thin, ovate, 1.5 × 0.7 cm, apex acute, slightly upcurved at tip, margins entire to erose, glabrous, 7–8-veined. Lateral sepals free, 2.2 cm long, 0.6 cm wide at base, oblong-lanceolate, slightly falcate, longer than the median but firmly adherent along the lower margins, concave, margins entire to erose, 7–8-veined. Petals rather thin, with five pink linings, ovate, 13 × 5 mm, apex acuminate, oblique, glabrous, margins entire to erose, 5–7-veined. Labellum resembles Alladin’s shoes, recurved towards base and towards tip, thick, ovate, 5–7 × 2–3 mm, adaxially with a median furrow running from the base to apex, margin erose; apex obtuse, swollen, shortly upcurved ca. 1 mm forming a short transverse furrow at the abaxial side, margin erose, adaxial surface verrucose at the proximal margins bordering the median furrow; base hinged on a thin ligament to the column foot, with conspicuous, antrorse, rounded auricles at base, at about 1/3 along the length of the labellum. Column including stelidia ca. 7–10 mm long; stelidia rounded with an apiculate apex, ca. 0.7 mm long, lower margin with a distinct, porrect, large, elliptic-oblong, obtuse ca. 1.6 mm long tooth; anther-cap ca. 1.6 × 1.3 mm, cucullate, oblong-ovate, verrucate at lower margins; pollinia two (only two of four pollinia were seen in the spirit-preserved specimen), 0.7 × 0.7 mm, oval. Seedpods green, spatulate with large, acutely angular ribs.
Colours: —Sepals and petals white to pale yellow with 5–8 pink-purple stripes from base to apex along the veins; labellum dark red or purple, pinkish purple with abaxial part whitish, finely spotted purple; column whitish flushed dark purple, anther cap dark purple.
Phenology: —Flowering in January–March and June.
Habitat and ecology:
—Epiphyte on tree branches and trunks (Figure 3
). Found growing in riverine and inland habitats with less exposed or partially shaded spots. Often rooting in mossy branches and trunks. The current known localities (riverine) are all flood prone vegetation and major river transportation routes, indicating the high possibility of anthropogenic and natural catastrophe to this species population.
Distribution: —Sarawak, Sg. Sekawi, Katibas, Song, Kapit; Sg. Anap, Tatau; Sg. Melinau, Mulu National Park. So far, these are the known locations of this new species endemic to Sarawak.
Etymology: —The species epithet, abangjoei, is after “Abang Joe” or Abang Zohari Abang Haji Openg, the current Honourable Premier of Sarawak. Bulbophyllum abangjoei Go, Besi and Pungga sp. nov. is truly synonymous to The Honourable Premier of Sarawak, Abang Joe in charisma. The flowers (sepals and petals) are white to cream colour with striking pinkish-purple stripes that signify his boldness and outstanding determination to safeguard the state biodiversity grandeur, boosting the exploration, conservation, and restoration of major landscapes in support of UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, that was aimed at preventing, halting, and reversing the degradation of ecosystems on every continent. The nature of the plant habit that is resilient against drought and occasional flood denotes Abang Joe’s resilience towards peer pressure, political upsurge, and global environmental mandate.
Proposed IUCN Red List Status: —Bulbophyllum abangjoei
is an extremely rare taxon, known so far only in three localities in protected areas in Sarawak. Due to the very few numbers of known populations, the new species should be treated as ‘Endangered’ [EN B2 (a)(b) D1] under criteria B and D according to the guideline in the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria version 14 (August 2019) [11
Taxonomic notes:—Bulbophyllum abangjoei
sp. nov. is part of a small group of one-flowered Bulbophyllum
species belonging to Bulbophyllum
(Breda) Benth. and Hook.f. (1883) and Bulbophyllum
Pfitz. (1889), Group C and Group D fide
], artificial key to the Asian sections of Bulbophyllum
], that have a rather large solitary flower relative to the elliptic to linear leaf blades and ovoid to cylindrical pseudobulbs, such as Bulbophyllum cornutum
(Blume) Rchb.f. in
W.G.Walpers, Bulbophyllum elevatopunctatum
J.J.Sm., Bulbophyllum deviantiae
J.J.Verm. and P.O’Byrne, Bulbophyllum ecornutum
(J.J.Sm.) J.J.Sm., subsp. ecornutum
, Bulbophyllum ecornutum
J.J.Verm., Bulbophyllum incisilabrum
J.J.Verm., Bulbophyllum membranifolium
Hook.f. subsp. membranifolium
, Bulbophyllum membranifolium
(J.J.Sm.) J.J.Verm., Bulbophyllum rugosum
Ridl., and Bulbophyllum sanguineomaculatum
Ridl., which all were previously in sect. Beccariana
. This new species is here categorised belonging to sect. Beccariana
, Group D with one-flowered inflorescences, basal node of pedicel approximate level with floral bract attachment, margins of median sepal entire, floral bract not tubular but instead amplexicaul (basal part surrounding the stalk from which it arises) with the basal edges just connected at the base, sepals with 5–19 veins (7–8 veins on B. abangjoei
), and median sepal free instead of connate to the lateral ones. Within sect. Beccariana
, B. abangjoei
is most closely related to B. deviantiae
, B. elevatopunctatum
, B. membranifolium
, B. membranifolium
, B. rugosum
, and B. sanguineomaculatum
, which are almost similar in the flower’s patterns and colour variations. However, the new species is easily distinguished and distinct. The most significant diagnostic morphological characters of B. abangjoei
are the long narrowly oblong-linear leaf blades ca. 1 cm width (instead of obovate or elliptic), long terete pseudobulbs in which mature plants have psedudobulbs almost as long as the leaves, non-resupinate flowers, and elliptic-oblong stelids at lower margins. Interestingly, amongst the 67 provisionally accepted species in B.
]), B. abangjoei
is so far the only member of the infrageneric section with long narrow leaf blades (up to 10 cm long) and pseudobulbs. In addition, most of the species in the one-flowered sect. Beccariana
exhibit resupinate flower. Apart from the long oblong-linear leaf blades with sessile petiole and long terete pseudobulbs, it clearly differs from B. deviantiae
, B. membranifolium
, B. rugosum
, and B. sanguineomaculatum;
a group which shares an almost similar flower colour variation by having apiculate stelids and shortly upcurved and swollen labellum apex (Table 1
). It differs from B. elevatopunctatum
by having flowers not scented, not spotted, with prominent pink-purple stripes from base to apex along the veins of the tepals, lateral sepals strongly adherent at lower margins instead of loosely adherent and reflexed at apices, as in most of the closely related species (Table 1
Artificial key to one-flowered Bulbophyllum sect. Beccariana (Group D fide ) from Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia, and Sulawesi.
|Pseudobulbs ovoid to cylindrical, 2–5 cm long; leaves ovate to elliptic with more than 1 cm width; flower resupinate……… B. deviantiae, B. elevatopunctatum, B. membranifolium subsp. membranifolium, B. membranifolium subsp. inunctum, B. rugosum, B. sanguineomaculatum|
|Pseudobulbs narrowly cylindrical to terete, up to 10 cm long; leaves linear with ca. 1 cm width; flower non-resupinate…………………….……………………..…….. B. abangjoei|Species references:—Bulbophyllum deviantiae
J.J.Verm. and P.O’Byrne, Gard. Bull. Singapore 60: 106 (2008) [9
]; Bulbophyllum elevatopunctatum
J.J.Sm., Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 3, 2: 99 (1920) [11
]; Bulbophyllum maculosum
Ames, Orchidaceae 5: 180 (1915) (a synonym for B. sanguineomaculatum
]; Bulbophyllum membranifolium
, Fl. Brit. India 5: 756 (1890) [11
]; Bulbophyllum membranifolium
(J.J.Sm.) J.J.Verm., P.O’Byrne and A.Lamb, Bulbophyllum Borneo: 244 (2015) [11
]; Bulbophyllum sanguineomaculatum
Ridl., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 32: 265 (1896) [11
Additional specimens examined (closely related species):—Bulbophyllum deviantiae: INDONESIA. Sulawesi, South, s.coll. (holotypus SING-photo! barcode: 0108794); Sulawesi, Mangkutane-Pendolo Divide, Hort. Bot. Singapore SBGO 5057 (isotypus NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.0283978, L.0402190, L.0302295); Sulawesi, Mangkutane-Pendolo Divide, 27 May 2005, s.coll. (isotypus NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.1492771); Bulbophyllum elevatopunctatum: MALAYSIA. Sabah, 20 October 1931, J. Clemens and M. S. Clemens 26792 (AMES-photo! barcode: 02385268); Terengganu, Kenyir Lake, Gawi, 29 September 2019, E. E. Besi, D. Nikong, M. I. Mat Esa, M. C. Rajaram, and V. T. Justine TK019 (UPM!); THAILAND. Leiden Botanical Garden 20051280 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.1492724, L.2109089); Bulbophyllum membranifolium: MALAYSIA. Sabah, 15 July 1963, H. P. Fuchs 21040 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.1484629); Sabah, Interior Zone, along trail Long Pa Sia-Long Samado, 1 October 1986 to 31 October 1986, J. J. Vermeulen 611 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109201); Sabah, Interior Zone, S. Rurun headwaters, 1 December 1986, J. J. Vermeulen and H. Duistermaat 1099 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109199); Sabah, West Coast Zone, Kinabalu National Park, 1 December 1986, J. J. Vermeulen and H. Duistermaat 542 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109200); INDONESIA. Sumatra, 9 May 1920, H. A. B. Bünnemeijer 10174 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: U.1458442); Sumatra, Gunung Leuser Nature Reserve, Aceh, 21 June 1972, W. J. J. O. de Wilde and B. E. E. de Wilde-Duyfjes 13159 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109195); Sumatra, Gunung Leuser Nature Reserve, Aceh, 2 April 1975, W. J. J. O. de Wilde and B. E. E. de Wilde-Duyfjes 5981 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109194); Sumatra, Gunung Leuser Nature Reserve, Aceh, Mt. Ketambe, 2 August 1972, W. J. J. O. de Wilde and B. E. E. de Wilde-Duyfjes 14216 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109189); East Kalimantan, 10 May 1993, A. A. Ambriansyah 742 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109204, L.2109205, L.2109206); PHILIPPINES. Luzon; Umiray, Province Tayabas, 1 May 1917 to 31 May 1917, M. Ramos and G. E. Edaño BS 29058 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109207); Bulbophyllum membranifolium subsp. membranifolium: MALAYSIA. Pahang, Cameron Highlands, 13 April 1930, M. R. Henderson 23555 (SING-photo! barcode: 0073516); Penang, Timur Laut, Western Hill, December 1886, C. Curtis s.n. (SING-photo! barcode: 0073481); Sarawak, Paku, Ulu Sg, Melinau, 26 June 1961, J. A. R. Anderson 4054 (SAR-photo!); Sabah, Head of Kina Taki River, 2 March 1933, J. Clemens and M. S. Clemens 31737 (MHN-photo! barcode: L.2109202); Sabah, Marei Parei spur, 23 March 1933, J. Clemens and M. S. Clemens 32311 (MHN-photo! barcode: L.2109203); Sabah, West Coast Division, Mt. Kinabalu, Marei Parei spur, 29 March 1933, J. Clemens and M. S. Clemens 34335 (AMES-photo! barcode: 02386951); Sabah, Mt. Kinabalu, Lumu-Lumu, 12 June 1933, C. E. Carr SFN27577 (AMES-photo! barcode: 02386948); Penang, Timur Laut, Tiger Hill, Barat Daya, cultivated in Orchid Enclosure 1, Botanic Gardens Singapore, 24 February 1967, H. W. Sipfhean 55 (SING-photo! barcode: 0130984); INDONESIA. Sumatra, Mt. Koerintji (Mt. Kerinci), 6 March 1920, H. A. B. Bunnemeijer 10174 (SING-photo! barcode: 0073497); Sumatra, Sumatera Utara, Gaju and Alas Lands, 19 February 1937, C. G. G. J. van Steenis 9027 (SING-photo! barcode: 0073499); Bulbophyllum membranifolium subsp. inunctum: MALAYSIA. Kedah, June 1893, H. N. Ridley 5127 (unknown type BM-photo! barcode: BM000062528); Kedah, Kedah Peak, July 1925, F. Flippance s.n. (SING-photo! barcode: 0073477); Penang, s.coll. (SING-photo! barcode: 0073478); Penang, Government Hill, 27 June 1918, Mhd Haniff 3779 (SING-photo! barcode: 0073480); Perak, Lower Camp Gunung Batu Putih, L. Jr. Wray 1123 (unknown type K-photo! barcode: K001368899); Kuching, Mount Matang, 11 September 1911, s.coll. 982096 (SAR-photo!); INDONESIA. cultivated in Hort. Bot. Bogor, January 1906, J. J. Smith s.n. (isotypus WU-photo! barcode: 0025121); NEW GUINEA. s.coll. (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109209); Bulbophyllum rugosum: MALAYSIA. Sabah, 1 September 1930 to 30 September 1930, Amdjah 1912/582 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.2109106); SINGAPORE. Chau Chu Kang, 19 August 1890, J. S. Goodenough s.n. (holotypus SING-photo! barcode: 0012219); PHILIPPINES. Leyte, Dagami, 10 July 1913, C. A. Wenzel 57 (AMES-photo! barcode: 00064955); INDONESIA. Sumatra, Mt. Kerinci, 1 May 1914, H. C. Robinson and C. B. Kloss s.n. (unknown type K-photo! barcode: K001368850); Sulawesi, Kampong Lombonang, Hort. Bot. Singapore SBGO 4820 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.1489078); Sulawesi, Lempe Village, Hort. Bot. Singapore SBGO 5802 (NHN-L-photo! barcode: L.1489079); Bulbophyllum sanguineomaculatum: MALAYSIA. Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, 20 February 1890, C. Curtis s.n. (K-photo! barcode: K001368849); Terengganu, Kenyir Lake, Gawi, 01 April 2018, E. E. Besi, D. Nikong, M. I. Mat Esa, M. C. Rajaram, and V. T. Justine EDW006 (UPM!); PHILIPPINES. Leyte, Dagami, 10 July 1913, C. A. Wenzel 199 (holotypus AMES-photo! barcode: 00064955); Leyte, Dagami, 21 June 1913, C. A. Wenzel 151 (AMES-photo! barcode: 00000527); Luzon, Quezon, 2 June 1917, M. Ramos and G. E. Edaño s.n. (AMES-photo! barcode: 02386215); Bulbophyllum sp. (cf. membranifolium): Kapit, Song, Katibas, Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, fieldcamp Ng. Jela, 25 August 1998, B. Gravendeel, C. G. Koops, S. Rebi 982096 (SAR-photo!).