The orchids represent one of the largest families of flowering plants in the world,
Their flower structure is evolutionarily highly specialized and systematically, they are the
most advanced groups in plant kingdom of the world. The babitat of orchids is more special
than other families in flowering plants. Their distribution has higher regularity and possesses
important significance for studying floristic character and region alization. The present paper
proposes a concrete boundary between the Sino-Himalayan Subregion and the Sino-Japanese
Subregion in Sichuan Province, based on the distribution patterns of some orchid genera
typical of the two subregions.
I. Risleya, Diplomeris, Diphylax and Platanthera subgen. Stigmatosa all belong to the
typical groups of distribution in the Sino-Himalayan Subregion. Their distribution patterns
are as follows:
1. Risleya (only one species) is distributed in Sikkim, N. Burma and S. W. China and
grows at (1041--) 2900--4200 m alt. In China its distribution ranges from Xizang
(Tibet) (Mainling and Bomi), Yunnan (Weixi) to Sichuan (Gongga Mountain and Emei
Mountain (alt. 1041 m)). The Emei Mountain is its eastern limit (Fig. 1).
2. Diplomeris (only two species) is distributed in M. Nepal to Bhutan (alt. 500-1000
m), N. E. India, Burma, the northest Vietnam (Sa-Pa alt. 1000 m) and China and grows
at (500---) 1500--2600 m alt. In China its distribution ranges from Xizang (Tibet) (Medog
alt. 1000 m), Yunnan (Gongshan), Sichuan (Kangding, Hejiang and Xuyong), Guizhou
(Xingyi) to Guangxi (Mashan). Hejiang in Sichuan is its eastern limit (Fig. 1)
3. Diphylax (only three species) is found in M. Nepal, Sikkim, N. Burma and S. W.
China at (1750-) 2500--4200 m alt. In China its distribution ranges from Xizang
(Yadong, Qonggyai, Medog and ZayÜ), Yunnan (Gongshan, Deqen and Yiliang alt. 1750
m), Sichuan (Emei Mountain alt. 1900 m) to Guizhou (Fanjing Mountain alt. 1800 m).
The Emei Mountain is its eastern limit (Fig. 2).
4. Platanthera subgen. Stigmatosa (including 12 species) is found from Kashmir Region, Pakistan (Hazara), through Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, N. India (Kumaon, Darjeeling,
Simla), N. Burma to S. W. China at (1500-) 2300-4500 m alt. In China its distribution
ranges from Xizang (Gyirong, Zhangmo, Rongxar, Dinggye, Yadong, Cora, Mainling,
Bomi, Medog (alt. 1500 m), ZayÜ) through Yunnan (Gongshan, Deqen, Weixi, Fugong,
Bijiang, Lijiang, Dali, Heqing, Luquan, Kunming and Jingdong), Sichuan (Muli, Miyi,
Huili, Huidong, Puge, Xichang, Xide, Maianning, Yuexi, Meigu, Erlang Mountain, Ebian, Emei Mountain, Honya and Guan Xian) to Guizhou (Zhenfeng). The Emei Mountain
is its eastern limit (Fig. 3-4).
According to the structure of gynostemum and form of labellum of the subgenus. Stigmatosa, their species belong to Platanthera unquestionably, although they are different from
the other members of Platanthera due to their inconvex stigma (not concave) and sepals
with mammillary-ciliate. The stigma of this group exhibits a series of evolutionary trends:
from stigma single, convexly elliptic and located near the rear of spur mouth (in P.
stenantha) ; to stigma single, shape of a saddle, and located near the front of spur mouth (in
P. bakeriana); and to stigma double, separately located at front of spur mouth (in other ten
species). The Platanthera subgen. Stigmatosa is confined to the area from the south fringe
of Xizang Plateau (from Kashmir Region to N. E. India) through N. Burma to the Hengduan Mountain Region in China. It seems that the subgenus. Stigmatosa has been affected by
upheaval of this area, which caused a series of variation and differentiation uninterruptedly,
giving rise to this group due to the long-term selection.
The vertical distribution of Risleya, Diplomeris, Diphylax and Platanthera subgen.
Stigmatiosa is higher in general, but little lower in some marginal regions of their distribution.
II. Neofinetia, Vexillabium and Sedirea all belong to typical groups of distribution in
the Sino-Japanese Subregion. Their distribution patterns are as follows:
1. Neofinetia (only one species) is distributed in Japan: Honshu (west of Kanto),
Shikoku, Kyushu (Tanega-shima, Yaku-shima), Ryukyu-qunto (Amamio-shima, Oki-Nawa-jima) and Daito-shoto; S. Korea (Cheju-do) and China and grows at 400--1300 (--1520) m alt. In China its distribution ranges from Fujian (Chongan), Zhejiang (Putuo,
Shengsi and Songyang), Jiangxi Lushan Mountain, Yushan and Yichun, Hubei (Lichuan
and Hefeng) to Sichuan (Wan Xian, Pingchang, Tongjiang, Guangyuan, Qingchuan (alt.
1520 m), Beichuan, Emei Mountain) and Gansu (Wen Xian). The Emei Mountain is its
western limit (Fig. 5).
2. Vexillabium (only four species) is distributed in Japan: Honshu (Izu-hanto,
Mieken), Shikoku (Yaku-shima); S. Korea (Cheju-do) ; N. Philippines (Batan Is. ) and
China at 450-1300 (-1600) m alt. In China its distribution ranges from Taiwan
(Taidong, Lan Yu), through Zhejiang (Lin’an, Tianmu Mountain and Suichuan), Hunan
(Xinning), Shaanxi (Yang Xian) to Sichuan (Nan-chuan, Jinfo Mountain and Beichuan
(alt. 1600 m)). The Minjiang River is its western limit (Fig. 6).
3. Sedirea (only two species) is distributed in Japan: Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu
(Tanega-shima, Yaku-shima and Nakano-shima) and Ryukyu-qunto (Amamio-shima and
Okinawa-jima); S. Korea (Cheju-do) and China at 300--1300 (--1400) m alt. In China its
distribution ranges from Fujian (Chong´an, Wuyi Mountain), Zhejiang (Wencheng, Taintai Mountain, Longquan, Lin'an, Xinchang and Kaihua), Hunan (Sangzhi, Shuangpai,
Shaoyang and Tongdao), Hubei (Xianfeng), Sichuan (Chengkou and Leibo (alt. 1400
m)), Guizhou (Jiangkou and Songtao) and Yunnan (Yingjiang alt. 1350 m). The Leibo is
its western limit (Fig. 7).
The vertical distribution of Neofinetia, Vexillabium and Sedirea is lower in general, but
little higher in western marginal regions of their distribution.
Above distribution patterns can be summarized as follows: (1)Risleya, Diplomeris,Diphylax and Platanthera subgen. Stigmatosa belong to typical groups of the Sino-Himalayan
Subregion distribution, among them Risleya, Diphylax and Platanthera subgen. Stigmatosa
all have Mt. Emei as their eastern limit in Sichuan, while Diplomeris has somewhat over the
Mountain as its eastern limit of distribution in Sichuan; (2) Neofinetia, Vexillabium and
Sedirea belong to typical genera of the Sino-Japanese Subregion distribution, among them
Vexillabium has Beichuan of eastern Minjian River, Neofinetia has Mt. Emei and Sedirea
has Leibo as their western limit in Sichuan. Based on the distribution patterns of above six
genera and one subgenera, the boundary between the Sino-Himalayan Subregion and the
Sino-Japanese Subregion of the flora in Sichuan is exactly in between the Mt. Emei and the
Minjiang River. Therefore, we may say that the boundary is identical to the one between the
Kham-Dian Old Land (Palaeo-Hengduan Mountains) and the Yangtze Plate in the Early
Tertiary. The isolated characteristics of the distribution patterns of seven groups in orchids
is related to topography, altitude, climate and the geological history.
The concrete boundary between the Sino-Himalayan Subregion and the Sino-Japanese
Subregion of the flora in Sichuan may be made from Nanping (Jiuzaigou), Songpan
(Huang-longshi), Maowen, Wenchuan, Guan Xian (Mt. Guangguang), Baoxing, Mt. Erlang, Mt. Emei, Shimian, Mianning, Xichang, Dechang, Miyi up to Panzhihua city. The
above study on the distribution patterns of the seven groups in orchids has definite significance for the definition on the boundary between Sino-Himalayan Subregion and the Sino-Japanese Subregion in Sichuan.
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