Paphiopedilum sanderianum - the holy grail of orchids
Paphiopedilum sanderianum has petals that are over one metre long!
First discovered in 1885 in the steaming jungles of Borneo, Paphiopedilum sanderianum is considered one of the most startlingly spectacular orchids ever found. Its pendulous petals can be over a metre long and are thought to attract pollinators. Despite its extreme desirability the plant was not seen again until 1978 - almost a century later - by which time its very existence was in question.
The shy beauties were rediscovered in Sarawak, Borneo, by Ivan Nielson. They are now protected within the boundaries of a National Park. For a long time their location was a closely guarded secret!
Search Kew's electronic Plant Information Centre for scientific information about Paphiopedilum sanderianum