The Botanical Review

, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 263–274 | Cite as

Conservation of the Native Orchids Through Seedling Culture and Reintroduction—A Singapore Experience

  • Tim W. YamEmail author
  • Jenny Chua
  • Felicia Tay
  • Peter Ang


Singapore is located near the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. The whole country consists mostly of lowland. It has many interesting types of natural habitats such as primary rain forest, freshwater swamp forest, mangroves, secondary forests, shrub, grasslands, and urban parks and fields. The climate is equatorial with relatively uniform temperature and high humidity. Unfortunately, many of the natural habitats and the native orchids which thrive there have disappeared due to habitat destruction. Some 226 species of native orchids have been recorded in Singapore. However, of these 178 are considered to be extinct, and only five are common. The orchid conservation programme aims to monitor existing species, explore ways to conserve their germplasm, and increase their numbers in natural, semi-natural, and urban environments through ex-situ seedling culture and subsequent re-introduction into appropriate habitats, including roadside trees, parks and natural areas. In the first phase of the programme, we have successfully propagated and carried out experiments of re-introduction on five species of native orchids, namely, Grammatophyllum speciosum, Bulbophyllum vaginatum, Bulbophyllum membranaceum, Cymbidium finlaysonianum and Cymbidium bicolor. Survival percentages 8-yr after the reintroduction events ranged from 10 to 95 for G. speciosum, the target species of the earliest re-introduction experiments. Size of the seedlings at reintroduction, host trees, and relative humidity seemed to play significant roles in the success rate of the reintroductions.


Orchid Conservation Seedling Culture Orchid Seeds Reintroduction Singapore 



I (TWY) thank Drs Hong Liu and Yibo Luo for the invitation to attend this enriching symposium. Dr. Joseph Arditti and Dr. Liu Hong for providing critical reviews on the ms. This research is funded by the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE), National Parks Board, Singapore.

Literature Cited

  1. Davison, G. W. H., P. K. L. Ng & H. C. Ho. 2008. The Singapore red data book. Threatened plants & animals of Singapore. Nature Society Singapore, Singapore.Google Scholar
  2. Dressler, R. L. 1981. Pp 88–92. The orchids, natural history and classification. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  3. Hartley, J. L. & S. E. Smith. 1983. Mycorrhizal symbiosis. Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Knudson, L. 1946. A new nutrient solution for the germination of orchid seed. American Orchid Society Bulletin 15: 214–217.Google Scholar
  5. Light, M. H. S., H. Koopowitz & T. A. Marchant. 2003. The impact of climatic, edaphic and physiographic factors on the population behaviour of selected temperate and tropical orchids. Pp 159–182. In: K. W. Dixon, S. P. Kell, R. L. Barret, & P. J. Cribb (eds). Orchid Conservation. Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.Google Scholar
  6. Liu, H., C. L. Feng, Y. B. Luo, B. S. Chen, Z. S. Wang & H. Gu. 2010a. Potential challenges of climate change to orchid conservation in a wild orchid hotspot in southwestern China. Botanical Review.Google Scholar
  7. Liu, H. X., Y. B. Luo & H. Liu. 2010b. Studies of mycorrhizal fungi of Chinese orchids and their role in orchid conservation in China—a review. Botanical Review.Google Scholar
  8. Pemberton, R. W. 2010. Biotic resource needs of specialist orchid pollinators. Botanical Review.Google Scholar
  9. Ridley, H. N. 1900. Flora of Singapore. Journal of Straits Branch Royal Asiatic Society 33: 27–196.Google Scholar
  10. Seaton, P. T., H. Hu, H. Perner & H. W. Pritchard. 2010. Ex situ conservation of orchids in a warming world. Botanical Review.Google Scholar
  11. van der Pijl, L. & C. H. Dodson. 1966. Orchid flowers, their pollination and evolution. University of Miami Press.Google Scholar
  12. Vereecken, N. J., A. Dafni, & S. Cozzolino. 2010. Pollination syndromes in Mediterranean orchids—implications for speciation, taxonomy and conservation. Botanical Review.Google Scholar
  13. Yam, T. W. 2008. Conservation and re-introduction of the tiger orchid and other native orchids of Singapore. Pages 261–265 in P.S. Soorae (ed.), Global Re-introduction Perspectives. Re-introduction case-studies from around the globe. IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Viii + 284 pp.Google Scholar
  14. ——— & M. A. Weatherhead. 1988. Germination and seedling development of some Hong Kong orchids. I. Lindleyana 3: 156–160.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim W. Yam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jenny Chua
    • 1
  • Felicia Tay
    • 1
  • Peter Ang
    • 1
  1. 1.Singapore Botanic GardensSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations