With their home-base in the capitol city of Chengdu, Sichuan, Wenqing and Holger Perner own and operate Hengduan Mountains Biotechnology, LTD. – a real boon to those interested in the native orchids of China and southern Asia. Currently, no other private company can offer what Hengduan Mountains Biotechnology does.
They sell (with proper documentation) a wide array of orchids from China including many Paphiopedilum and Cypripedium species. They also lead botanical tours into the wilds of China featuring incredible landscapes, a dizzying array of native plants with particular focus on orchids, delicious local cuisine, and of course the cultures of the people who live in these far flung places. And that’s just for starters, so why don’t we have a closer look at this truly unique company.
Dr. Holger Perner is a world known German botanist and orchid specialist, and has worked at Huanglong National Park in northern Sichuan as senior consultant since September 2001. Wenqing, his wife, an accomplished businesswoman and linguist, is fully fluent in English, Japanese, German, and of course her native language, Chinese. They met in Sichuan in 1997 on a botanical tour, were married a year later, and moved to Sichuan (Wenqing’s homeland) full time in 2001. They have two lovely daughters, Stefanie and Isabell.
Since 1999 Wenqing and Holger have been leading botanical tours to see western China’s rare plant flora. In 2010 these tours were extended to the subtropical and tropical mountains of southern China where a number of Paphiopedilum species can be seen. In May of the same year they finally got the go ahead to export CITES protected orchids (both Appendix II and Appendix I) out of China, making it possible for people to legally possess such species as Paphiopedilum hangianum and P. tranlienianum (both Appendix I) for the first time outside of their native lands. Wenqing and Holger also travel extensively throughout the world attending orchid shows, and giving talks to local orchid societies.
I have had the great fortune of personally knowing both of them for some years now. In the summer of 2013 I took it a step further by attending one of their botanical tours to northern Sichuan where I got to know them even better. The experience was beyond my expectations. We were treated to 10 eye popping days in the Min Mountains of Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, followed by a visit to their nursery on the outskirts of Chengdu and to the ancient town of Huanglong Xi on the last day.
From June 20th-30th myself and 11 other plant enthusiasts from around the world were escorted around northern Sichuan by Holger and Wenqing personally. A typical day was spent traveling by tour bus to highly varied habitats in the deep valleys that are made by the massive northern Hengduan Mountain Range on the very eves of the immense Tibetan Plateau. We stopped whenever something of interest was seen – everybody would then file off the bus and the cameras would come out. In addition to these frequent stops, we visited no less than six botanical Edens on the tour, spending an entire day at each of the most choice places.
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