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Denmark helps Thai orchids – again

September 20, 2012

Thai orchidologists have just got access to a powerful tool: Some of Seidenfaden’s publications are now available on-line!

Gunnar Seidenfaden (1908-2001) was a Danish diplomat and an amateur orchid specialist. He was the Danish ambassador in Thailand in 1955-1959, and he arranged several orchid expeditions in 1956-1984. He described over 120 new orchid species from Southeast Asia. The problem until a few days ago, was that these printed publications were hard to get hold of by environmentally concerned laymen without university affiliation. Books with pictures are useful, but they may not depict characters of diagnostic value, while Seidenfaden would even provide keys to their identification.

Seidenfaden’s private contribution shows that laymen may play an important role in addition to governmental efforts. His achievement was of such magnitude that not only species, but also a genus was named in honour of Gunnar Seidenfaden.

A pdf with a historical look at the Thai orchidology can be downloaded here (pdf).

This is where you can access the publications in

Botanisk Tidsskrift

Dansk Botanisk Arkiv

The files are very large so you need a quick connection. Some volunteers have already offered to download and print CD:s which we should be happy to distribute via Dokmai Garden.

These are some of Seidenfaden’s publications:

Botanisk Tidsskrift (volume:pages)



65: 313-370








Dansk Botanisk Arkiv (year:volume:issue)

1971:27:4 (Luisia)

1973:29:1 (Cirrhopetalum)
1975:29: 2-4 (Orchid genera in Thailand I-III: Calanthe, Cleisostoma, Coelogyne)
1976:31:1 (IV: Liparis)
1977:31:3 (V: Orchidoideae)
1978:32:2 (VI: Neottioideae)
1978:33:1 (VII: Oberonia & Malaxis)
1979:33:3 (VIII: Bulbophyllum)
1980:34:1 (IX: Flickingeria & Epigeneium)

Opera Botanica (year:volume)
1982:62 (X: Trichotosia & Eria)
1983:72 (XI: Cymbidieae)
1985:83 (XII: Dendrobium)
1986:89 (XIII: Thirty-tree epidendroid genera)
1988:95 (XIV: Fifty-nine vandoid genera)
1992:114 (The Orchids of Indochina)
1995:124 (XII: Contribution to the orchid flora of Thailand)

Seidenfaden (1997): Contributions to the Orchid Flora of Thailand XIII. Olsen & Olsen.

The idea to make these landmark publications available on-line was proposed by Eric Danell and Ketsanee Seehamongkol on May 3, 2011. We thank Professor Henning Knudsen, University of Copenhagen and Associate Professor Henrik Aerenlund Pedersen, Chairman of the Danish Botanical Society and lecturer at Copenhagen University, for making this happen.

Habenaria lindleyana (Orchidaceae) is a native Thai orchid and the first to bloom in the recently established Dokmai Garden ground orchid display. This specimen was donated by Corien and Folbert Bronsema. The flowering stalk emanate from a flattened cluster of leaves. The picture was taken around 08 yesterday morning, and while taking the picture, another bud opened (opposite to this flower). The white colour and the length of the spur hints the pollinator is likely to be a moth. If we know the pollinator, we could grow its host plant too. Very few pollinating insects are known.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ong, P.T. permalink
    October 11, 2012 6:36 AM

    Seidenfaden’s work is also very valuable for someone who’s studying the Peninsular Malaysian orchids. This is more than someone can hope for…getting access to valuable references. Cheers, Ong.

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