Thelymitra ixioides

Spotted Sun Orchid

Logan and District Orchid Society  -  Paphiopedilum Orchids


Paphiopedilum, often called the Venus slipper, is a genus of the Lady slipper orchid 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. The Paph. orchids are closely related to other genera Phragmipedium.  Cypripedium, Mexipedium,  and Selenipedium


Paphiopedilum species naturally occur among humus layers as terrestrials on the forest floor, while a few are true epiphytes and some are lithophytes. These sympodial orchids lack pseudobulbs. Instead, they grow robust shoots, each with several leaves; some are hemicryptophytes. The leaves can be short and rounded or long and narrow, and typically have a mottled pattern. When older shoots die, newer ones take over. Each new shoot only blooms once when it is fully grown, producing a raceme between the fleshy, succulent leaves. The roots are thick and fleshy. Potted plants form a tight lump of roots that, when untangled, can be up to 1 m long.

Members of this genus are considered highly collectible by orchid fanciers due to the curious and unusual form of their flowers. Along with Cypripedium, Mexipedium, Phragmipedium and Selenipedium, the genus is a member of the subfamily Cypripedioideae, commonly referred to as the "lady's-slippers" or "slipper orchids" due to the unusual shape of the pouch-like labellum of the flower. The pouch traps insects seeking nectar, and to leave again they have to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia. The orchid, despite several attempts to clone by tissue culture, has never been successfully cloned, for unknown reasons. This means every plant is unique.

In horticulture

The paphiopedilums are among the most widely cultivated and hybridized of orchid genera. Spectacular new species are being discovered every now and then; for example the Golden Slipper Orchid (P. armeniacum), discovered in 1979 and described in 1982, amazed growers of orchids by the extraordinary beauty of its golden flowers. In addition, growers have bred thousands of interspecific hybrids and registered them with the Royal Horticultural Society in London over the years.

These orchids are relatively easy to grow indoors, as long as conditions that mimic their natural habitats are created. Most species thrive in moderate to high humidity (50-70%), moderate temperatures ranging from 13 to 35 degrees Celsius and low light of 12,000 to 20,000 lux. Modern hybrids are typically easier to grow in artificial conditions than their parent species.

The full article can be read here -

         Growing paphiopedilums

Information on Paphiopedilum: Paphs.Net - Culture Sheets

***This is the gold mine of information on all things Paphiopedilum.***

American Orchid Society Culture Sheet on growing Paphiopedilum.

Paphiopedilum Culture by Keith S Bennett Bankstown Orchid Society

How to grow Slipper Orchids  Nicky’s Slippers, Nick Zurcher, Adelaide,

South Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ Sheet) by Bob & Lynn Wellenstein on

Growing Paphiopedilums in Temperature Climates (Sydney)  The Orchid Society of New South Wales - This sheet may be useful for cooler regions of SE Queensland

Basic information sheets for the novice grower

Novice Culture Sheet: Paphiopedilum Culture for Beginners

American Orchid Society -

Successful Paphiopedilum Growing - My Top Ten Tips by Gary Hart of

the Sutherland Shire Orchid Society

Paphiopedilum Care by Orchids Limited  (nursery) on

paphiopedilum violet

Photo credit:

Paphiopedilum gratrixianum (Mast.) Rolfe

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Paphiopedilum tranlienianum

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Paph.  Invincible

Photo credit: Orchid Society of New South Wales


Paph. dianthum 'Rajani'  CE/OSNSW

D. Judge (2014) 81.17 points

Photo credit: Orchid Society of New South Wales

 Page updated 12/09/2014