When it comes to names ‘Lady Slipper Orchids’ is one that needs a little explanation. If we ask ‘What is a Lady Slipper Orchid’ we can end up with totally different species.
The fascinating world of Lady Slipper orchids all of these come from the sub family Cypripedioidea and the actual species includes plants from the following the following genus:
It is a little sad to read articles where these very different species are all lumped together.
This gives the impression that all Lady Slippers are Paphiopedilum or Cypripedium, depending on the author, this is misleading.
Pictured top right we have a Selenipedium Orchid. While below that we have Paphiopedilum crossianum, both are Lady Slippers.
So when we talk about Lady Slipper orchids it is best to use the botanical names as a far amount of difference can be seen between the species.
As with many orchids, hybridisation has given us more variety than nature intended, however the species themselves are fascinating.
Some of these orchids are common, while others are almost extinct in the wild. Cypripedium calceolus is one such species.
The name ‘Lady Slipper Orchid’
The name ‘Lady’s slipper’ is derived from the the flower pouch which is ‘slipper shaped’ and is designed to attract insects and fertilize the flowers.
However it is these colorful pouches that attract gardeners and collectors alike to this wonderful group of plants.