Paphiopedilum is a Greek derivative from the words Paphius and Pedilon, which means shoes. They are also known as Lady’s Slipper Orchids, and have some traits not generally found in them. They are well sought after by enthusiasts, even as they become rarer to find.
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Where to Find These Special Plants
These types were in abundance in Great Britain and Europe, but because they were over harvested, they can only now be found in specialty shops which makes them another rare orchid for collectors. There are roughly 60 species in this genus and are natives of southeast Asia, India, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
They are easy to grow but do take a lot of tenacity and patience to succeed in gaining long lasting blooms, which have a waxy texture. Some blooms can last up to 6 weeks on the plant.
Interesting Characteristics of These Flowers
The flowers are beautiful with variegated blossoms which gives them an exotic look. They have a fascinating range of colors which draws many fanciers of these flowers to admire their beauty. The flowers can be white, maroon, yellow, red, pink, green and deep burgundy (almost black). The blooms on some slipper ones can be quite extravagant with long, twisting petals and vivid blooms. An example of this flower is the Paphiopedilum Philippinense var. Roebelenii.
Although this flower has a rather large petal, almost pitcher shaped, this plant is not carnivorous. The use of the large petal is to retain the pollinators so that they visit the correct parts of the flower. In fishing terms it’s called the “catch and release” program.
Some species also have hairs, warts, stripes and other markings which make them so interesting in appearance.
How It Retained The Name Lady Slipper?
They are easily recognized by a cup-like lip called the pouch and a prominent dorsal sepal, which looks like a dainty little slipper. Hence they were given the name Lady’s Slipper. Another description that has been given to the flower is helmet and mustache, which when you look at it, is a very apt description!
The plants are mostly found growing on the ground or rocks but there are certain species like Paphiopedilum Lowii which grow in trees. They are a small to moderate sized plant, with leaves that are stiff, waxy or leathery. They range in color from glossy green to beautifully mottled. The leaves are generally a fan-shaped tuft.
The plant has an erect stem and bears one or more flowers, which arise from the center of each new growth. Some species such as Paphio Stonei and Rothschildianurn, can produce up to six flowers on each stem.
Seasons In Which are Perfect for Observing These Specimens
The main blooming season is from mid-autumn onwards, although some variations occur among the species.
These particular organisms are divided into two groups:
- Warm-Growing: this group consists of mottled-leave types like Paphopedilum Maudiae, which is an ideal orchid to grow for beginners
- Cool-growing: the leaves on this plant are plain, green leaves
Filtered Light Is Always Best
As with most flowers, Paphiopedilum orchids prefer bright filtered sunlight, good air circulation and good drainage so that the roots don’t get too wet. Don’t water the leaves as they are prone to rot. They will grow near a window or under lights as long as the daytime temperature is no higher than 85 degrees F. All types, both warm and cool growing types, require reasonably cool nights, especially in the spring when they will be setting their buds for Autumn and the flowering season.
This group of orchids do not contain pseudobulbs, so their nutrients are stored in the leaves.