Cypripedium dickinsonianum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Cypripedium dickinsonianum Hágsater
Common Name(s):
English Dickinson's Cypripedium

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-07-25
Assessor(s): Rankou, H. & Salazar Chávez, G.
Reviewer(s): Fay, M.

Cypripedium dickinsonianum is very rare and very local with a restricted and scattered distribution, known only from a few scattered populations mostly in small colonies or individually, the area of occupancy of the species is only about 50 km2. The species is under numerous threats especially lopping of trees, deforestation, clear-cutting, random cutting of wood, overgrazing pressure, collection by local people with an estimated continuing decline of the species and the habitats on the four to five locations. C. dickinsonianum is therefore assessed as Endangered (EN)

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Cypripedium dickinsonianum is restricted to the northernmost portion of the Mesoamerican area, being found in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. Its distribution shows a peculiar disjunction between the northern Central American populations (state of Chiapas in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras) and the two known from the eastern Mexican state of Querétaro.

The extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated at 90,256 km ² and the area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated at 50 km ².

The species can be found between 700 and 1,700 m of altitude. 

Sources: Cribb 1997, Frosch and Cribb 2012, Semarnat 2010, and Soto-Arenas et al. 2007.

Countries occurrence:
Guatemala; Honduras (Honduras (mainland)); Mexico (Chiapas, Querétaro)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:50Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:90256
Number of Locations:4-5
Lower elevation limit (metres):700
Upper elevation limit (metres):1700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


As far as population size is concern, Cypripedium dickinsonianum is known from more than 15 herbarium specimens (Cribb and Sandison 1998). They noted that C. dickinsonianum is very rare and local, known only from a few scattered populations mostly in small colonies or individually and the number of mature individuals is unknown. The population trend is unknown as little is known about the status of this species in the wild and it is a rare species.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Cypripedium dickinsonianum occurs in a variety of habitats from juniper forest, open vegetation/clearings in Quercus-, Quercus-Juniperus- and Quercus-Pinus forests, ecotone of submontane scrub and Quercus forest, and palm grove of Paurotis spp. in karstic terrain. The species prefers wet openings and humus-rich substrates in shady to mid-shade substrates and flowers from late July to August. 

Sources: Cribb 1997, Frosch and Cribb 2012, Semarnat 2010, and Soto-Arenas et al. 2007.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

No uses are known for this species. Its relatively small flowers (2.5-3.0 cm maximum span) make it the least showy among the Mesoamerican cypripediums, but the golden-yellow flowers should be conspicuous and this species is probably collected by local people when in bloom to adorn rural homes.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Cypripedium dickinsonianum is under numerous threats especially lopping of trees, deforestation, random cutting of wood, overgrazing pressure, collection by peasants, trampling, climate change and destruction of the protective canopy of the forests which also change the physiochemical variables of the soil and microclimatic conditions in the area. The species is also threatened by loss and degradation of the habitat due mainly to infrastructure development, management activities such as recreation activities by direct effect (e.g., destruction of plants) and indirect effect (e.g., alteration of habitat).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

All orchid species are included under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Cypripedium dickinsonianum is included in the Mexican list of threatened or endangered species of native flora and fauna (SEMARNAT, 2010) under the category of “subject to special protection”, defined as “those species that could be endangered by factors that influence negatively their viability, for which it is required to propitiate their recovery and conservation, or the recovery and conservation of populations of associated species.”

The following actions are recommended to protect Cypripedium dickinsonianum:

- Species based management and conservation is essential to ensure to protect the remaining limited number of individuals.

- Initiate long term community based conservation to protect the habitat and species.

- Develop alternative livelihoods for the locals if possible and change this species from the grazing list.

- Protection of the habitat, especially from collection, trampling, grazing and browsing.

- Fencing the vulnerable sites.

- Management of habitat to reduce competition for resources (i.e., light, water, nutrients).

- Monitoring programs are needed to track the status of existing populations with respect to ongoing management practices.

- Further research on the life cycle and ecology of Cypripedium elegans will increase our knowledge about this species and help managers to develop effective approaches to its conservation.

- Land protection and habitat diffuse management can be implemented to conserve habitat near or between occurrences.

- Raise public awareness.

- Protection of the living individuals of the species through legislation and legal protection which ban the species not to be picked or dug up.

- Ex situ conservation: Artificial propagation, re-introduction, seed collections.

- Monitoring and surveillance of the existing populations and sites.

- Estimate the population size and study their dynamics. 

Citation: Rankou, H. & Salazar Chávez, G. 2014. Cypripedium dickinsonianum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T43315523A43327639. . Downloaded on 23 July 2018.
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