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Standing on one of the trails in the forest, several people ventured to ask where the famous orchids are. There should be so many of them. We stand still, surrounded by trees covered in green leafy epiphytes. Yes, right there, on the first tree we look at, is an orchid.

The long absence of flowers on many species of orchid might make it harder to find them at first. However, they can be found everywhere in the park. There are countless species and exceedingly high proportions of endemic species higher up on the mountain.

One of the endemic orchids is the very large Gold of Kinabalu orchid, Paphiopedilum rothschildianum. It occurs at relatively low altitude, between 500 m and 1800 m. It is related to lowland species in Borneo and diverged from the most recent common ancestor between 0.7 and 3.7 million years ago.

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum