Paphiopedilum (Lady Slipper Orchid)

Paph orchidPaphiopedilum, Aka the Venus slipper, or Lady slipper orchid, is an orchid belonging to the subfamily Cypripedioideae of the flowering plant family Orchidaceae. The genus comprises some 80 accepted taxa including several natural hybrids. The genus is native to Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, southern China, New Guinea and the Solomon and Bismarck Islands, as well as the Philippines.

The word “paphiopedilum” originates from Greek “paphia” (meaning Aphrodite, whose main place of worship was on the Island of Paphos) and “pedilon” (meaning shoes, sandals). The popular name “lady slipper” refers to its resemblance to slippers or shoes. 

The species and their hybrids are extensively cultivated, and are known as either paphiopedilums, or by the abbreviation “paphs” in horticulture.

Paph orchidThe shoe-shaped lip serves as an insect trap; flying insects are lured with scent nectar in the flower. They are characterised by the slipper-shaped pouches (modified labellums) of the flowers. The pouch traps insects so they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia, thus fertilizing the flower. 

These were shot at the Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Miami, FL, with the Canon EOS Rebel T6s camera and 60mm macro lens.

Paphiopedilums are shade plants. They cannot be in full midday sun. Too much sun will result in pale or scorched leaves. 

Paphiopedilum curtisii var albumPaphiopedilum curtisii var album

Various cultivars exist. Paphiopedilum is a slow-growing plant – it takes about three years before the plant is mature enough to flower.



31 thoughts on “Paphiopedilum (Lady Slipper Orchid)

  1. Estas orquídeas son maravillosas y tus fotos son realmente perfectas. Hubo un tiempo que adquiría en establecimientos de venta de plantas orquídeas diversas, entre ellas esta especie (la de colores). La blanca es bellísima.
    Muchas gracias, María.
    Feliz equinoccio. Abrazos.


  2. Oh how I love orchids! I have many of the smaller flowering ones…I never know their names because I find them at the grocery store!


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