Bedugul – BRIN Public Relations. The population of slipper orchid in nature is increasingly threatened. BRIN’s Bali Botanical Garden researchers have carried out the propagation of this orchid species to restore its population in nature. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has stipulated this orchid through Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry No. 106 of 2018 as a protected orchid.

The existence of slipper orchid in nature is threatened due to uncontrollable exploitation. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has listed the Slipper Orchid in appendix 1.

This provision has caused the slipper orchid not allowed to be sent out of its country of origin for commercial purposes. While, for research purposes, it is permitted under condition that they must follow official procedures and very strict supervision from the competent authorities.

For information, this orchid Paphiopedilum javanicum (Reinw. ex Lindl.) Pfitzer is locally known as Anggrek Selop (Slipper Orchid) or Anggrek Kantung (Pouch Orchid) for its shape resembling a slipper or pouch. This unique character makes this orchid very attractive to orchid lovers.

BRIN Bali Botanical Garden has succeeded in conserving the slipper orchid endemic to Bali which is taken from its natural habitat on the slopes of Pengelengan Hill, Bedugul, Bali.

According to Gede Tirta, an orchid researcher at the Bali Botanical Garden, Pengelengan Hill is the natural habitat for this slipper orchid of P. javanicum species. “Bukit Pengelengan is its natural habitat,” he said.

Tirta explained that he had several times monitored the existence of this orchid. Initially, they found a location that was overgrown with this P. javanicum, but at the last monitoring, they could no longer find this type of orchid in the same location. “It seems that the orchid collectors have harvested it, without leaving a single sapling. This is a challenge for us researchers to restore the population and preserve this orchid in its nature,” he explained.

Since 2007, Ema Hendriyani, an orchid researcher at the Bali Botanical Garden has conducted research on propagation of this slipper orchid of P. javanicum species. She propagates the species using the tissue culture techniques. “In 2012 the saplings from the result of tissue culture entered the acclimatization stage,” she said.

Ema explained that acclimatization is the process of adapting an organism into a new environment that it will enter. “Unfortunately, during this acclimatization process, the P. javanicum saplings did not grow very well,” she explained.

Acclimatization for Sapling Growth

Following up on these findings, Ema and several colleagues continued the research to increase the growth of saplings in the acclimatization process. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of liquid fertilization on the vegetative growth of P. javanicum saplings during the acclimatization stage.

Beyonic StarTmik liquid fertilizer was administered in five different doses which were considered as treatments 0, 10, 20, 30 and 40 mL. A total of 10 saplings for each treatment were examined. In this study, the vegetative growth of P. javanicum was observed using the quantitative and qualitative parameters.

The quantitative data was analyzed using ANOVA. The results showed a high percentage of sapling survival namely at 98%, and administration of a dose of 30 mL of liquid fertilizer provided optimal vegetative growth of P. javanicum saplings with an average height of 2.2 cm and a total of 13 leaves.

“From the results of our research, we found a decrease in the percentage of plant survival in the sixth week after being removed from the culture bottle,” she said. She explained further, the leaves withered and became dry because the saplings are not able to adapt to environmental changes during the acclimatization stage. One of the characteristics of saplings from the result of tissue culture (in vitro) is incomplete function of stomata and leaf cuticles.

The results of this research have been published in the Biodjati Journal 4(2):291-297, November 2019 under the title GROWTH OF SLIPPER ORCHID Paphiopedilum javanicum (Reinw. ex Lindl.) Pfitzer DURING ACCLIMATIZATION STAGE.

“Obviously if we succeed in finding the way to propagate P. javanicum, we can return it to its natural habitat so that this type of orchid will be sustainable in nature. More information and data on how to treat P. javanicum saplings can be read in published journals,” she concluded. (gws / ed: drs)