Sunday, 1 February 2009

slipper orchids

Cypripedium or more commonly referred to as the "slipper orchids" is a genus of orchids made up of 45 species. Many tropical orchids once classified as a Cypripedium now belong to other genera such as Paphiopedilum, Phragmedium and Selepedium, although all are still referred to as "slipper orchids".

Both the scientific and common names of this genus are derived from the way the lip of the flower forms a hollow pouch shaped like the toe of a slipper, albeit a very bulbous one.

Of the various genera of slipper orchids known to man, the Paphiopedilum is perhaps most beautiful and fascinating.

Paphiopedilum species grow mostly at moderate altitudes under dense shade on the rain forest floor or in leaf mold on rock faces and, occasionally, as epiphytes. They are usually compact and consist of fleshy roots, a short stem, and a few large, often mottled leaves with a terminal inflorescence of one or a few large flowers. The lip of the lower flower, like the Cypripedium is shaped like a pouch.

I got this particular specimen from Song over the weekend. Unfortunately I forgot to ask Mr Phua for its name and unlike most of his other orchids, this did not come labelled. I do however, have reason to believe that this might be a hybrid.

This is only my second slipper orchid, the first being the Paph lowii (below) which is arguably one of the most beautiful multifloral species from Malaysia and Borneo. 

Here are some photos of other Paphs I took at Song.

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