Monday, January 29, 2007

蘭香滿崗 - 本土野生蘭花的現況 Sweet Wild Orchid Scent – Meet the Locals

蘭香滿崗 - 本土野生蘭花的現況

香港雖為彈丸之地,地少人多,但卻擁有豐富的野生蘭花資源,已發現的123種本土野生蘭花中,有13個為本土特有種。我們不論在偏遠的野外溯澗穿林,還是在熟悉的郊遊徑遠足時,只要小心留意一下,都有機會見到野生蘭花。最常見而大家比較熟悉的,是金黃色的苞舌蘭Spathoglottis pubescens,和白瓣紫芯的竹葉蘭Arundina chinensis;雲霧縈繞的高山密林中,潮濕的石面上碧綠圓渾如翡翠珠的,是大家不會陌生的石仙桃Pholidota chinensis的假球莖。


然而,如此豐富的野生蘭花資源,目前卻備受威脅。最大的威脅之一來自其生境的破壞和消失: 城市和鄉郊的發展和環境污染,不斷蠶食周邊的郊野,令野生蘭花的生境不斷地縮小;大大小小的鄉郊「改善」工程,例如山徑的擴建、噴漿、石屎化、梯級化等,亦令山徑兩旁的生境從此消失。另一威脅,則來自沒有保育意識或自私的市民:雖然本港所有的野生蘭花均受法律保護,但部份郊遊人士特別喜愛美麗的山花,一見到便要攀折下來「親近」一番;亦存在有不少自稱「惜花人」的遠足人士,珍貴野生蘭花的生長地點一但被暴露,轉眼便有「識貨者」掘走帶回家中珍藏或轉售。

Sweet Wild Orchid Scent – Meet the Locals

Being a small city with a huge population, surprisingly, Hong Kong is rather rich in wild orchid species. With the 123 wild orchid species found locally, 13 are endemic. While hiking along the trails in countrypark or trekking in the remote ravines and forests, you can always spot a wild orchid or two if you look carefully. The golden yellow blooms of the Spathoglottis pubescens and the white-and-purple Arundina chinensis are the two of the most commonly seen species, while rock surfaces covered by the large emerald bead-like pseudobulbs of the Pholidota chinensis is a common sight high at the misty montane forest.

In the 70's, there were only 63 wild orchid species recorded in Hong Kong. Ms Gloria Barretto of the Kadoorie Farm started to build the Orchid Haven which served as a sanctuary for undertaking propagation of native wild orchids in order to restore populations in the wild, and to carry out the research and conservation work for the wild orchids and their natural habitat. There are now 98 species and 4 varieties of native orchids in the farm's collection. The Kadoorie Farm has made a great contribution on the surveys on the biodiversity and assessment of distribution and abundance of wild populations of species. Their research on various techniques on clonal propagation of wild orchids are rather successful, producing large number of seedlings for more than 30 species which are suitable for the restoration of the populations in the wild.

However, such abundant resource of wild orchids is currently under serious threats. Due to disturbance by human activities such as urban and rural developments, environmental pollution etc., the habitats they depend on are destroyed or struggling to survive. Various governmental "Rural Improvement Scheme" projects, e.g. unnecessary expansion and cement-concretization of countryside footpaths, hillside gunite covering etc., destroy the natural habitats along the footpaths. Other threats come from the illegal collection by the citizens who are selfish or without environmental conservation consciousness. Although all species of wild orchids are protected by law in Hong Kong, flower picking in the wild are still a bad habit of some people, and there are those so called “orchid enthusiasts” who always keep an eye on any exposure of the wild orchids habitats - once exposed, the wild orchids will most likely end up becoming part of their private collections or on the list of items for sale in the black market.

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