From Academic Kids

Slipper orchids
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Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus)
Scientific classification

See Species.

Cypripedium Lindley 1757, is a genus of the 56 species from the Orchid family (Orchidaceae).

Its members are terrestrial hardy orchids that grow primarily in colder climates of the Northern Hemisphere, in North America, Europe, and Asia. Some grow in the tundra in Alaska and Siberia, which is an unusually cold habitat for orchids. They can withstand extreme cold, growing under the snow and blooming when the snow melts. But, in the wild, most have become rare and close to extinction, due to an ever shrinking natural habitat and overcollection.

Common names include slipper orchids, Lady's Slippers, mocassin flowers, camel's foot, squirrel foot, steeple cap, Venus' shoes and whippoorwill shoes. Cypripedia have a long history, dating back 2500 years to the Far East, where they were used medicinally.

As with most terrestrial orchids, the rhizome is short and robust, growing in the uppermost soil layer. The rhizome grows annually with a growth bud at one end and dies off at the other end. The stem grows from the bud at the tip of the rhizome. Most slipper orchids have an elongate erect stem, with leaves growing along its length. But the Mocassin Flower (Cypripedium acaule) has a short underground stem with leaves springing from the soil. The often hairy leaves can vary from ovate to elliptic or lanceolate, folded along their length. The stems lack pseudobulbs.

The inflorescence is racemose. It can carry one to twelve flowers, as in Cypripedium californicum. But most species have one to three flowers. There are three sepals, with, in most species, the two lateral ones more or less fused. The flower has three acute petals with the third a striking slipper-shaped lip, which is lowermost. The sepals and the petals are usually similarly colored, with the lip in a different color. But variations on this theme occur. The aspect of the lip of different species can vary a great deal. As with all orchids, it is specially constructed to attract pollinators. The flowers show a column with a unique shieldlike staminode. The ovary is 3-locular (with three chambers).


  • Cypripedium acaule : Mocassin Flower, Pink Lady's Slipper,Two-leaved Lady's-slipper (C. & E. Canada, NC. & E. U.S.A).
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Cypripedium calceolus

  • Cypripedium agnicapitatum (Manchuria).
  • Cypripedium alaskanum (C. guttatum C. yatabeanum) (Alaska).
  • Cypripedium andrewsii (C. candidum C. parviflorum var. pubescens) (E. Canada, NC. & NE. U.S.A).
  • Cypripedium arietinum : Ram's head lady's Slipper (C. & E. Canada, NC. & NE. U.S.A).
  • Cypripedium bardolphianum (China)
    • Cypripedium bardolphianum var. bardolphianum (China)
    • Cypripedium bardolphianum var. zhongdianense (China). Rhizome geophyte
  • Cypripedium calceolus : Woodpecker nuksack, Yellow Lady's Slipper (Europe to Japan)
  • Cypripedium calcicolum (China)
  • Cypripedium californicum : California Lady's Slipper (Oregon, N. California).
  • Cypripedium candidum : Small White Lady Slipper (SE. Canada, NC. & E. U.S.A).
  • Cypripedium catherinae (C. macranthon C. shanxiense) (Russian Far East).
  • Cypripedium cheniae (China).
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Small White Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium candidum)
  • Cypripedium columbianum (C. montanum C. parviflorum var. pubescens) (W. Canada, NW. U.S.A)
  • Cypripedium cordigerum : Heart-shaped Lip Cypripedium (N. Pakistan to Himalaya, S. Tibet).
  • Cypripedium debile : Frail Cypripedium (Japan, Taiwan, China)
  • Cypripedium dickinsonianum (Mexico (S. Chiapas) to Guatemala).
  • Cypripedium elegans (E. Nepal to China)
  • Cypripedium fargesii (China)
  • Cypripedium farreri (China) )
  • Cypripedium fasciculatum : Brownie Lady's-slipper, Clustered Lady's-slipper (W. U.S.A).
  • Cypripedium fasciolatum (China).
  • Cypripedium flavum : Yellow Cypripedium (SE. Tibet, SC. China)
  • Cypripedium formosanum : Beautiful Cypripedium, Formosa's Lady's Slipper (C. Taiwan).
  • Cypripedium forrestii (China).
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Mocassin Flower (Cypripedium acaule)
  • Cypripedium franchetii : Franchet's Cypripedium (C. & SC. China).
  • Cypripedium froschii (China).
  • Cypripedium guttatum : Spotted Lady's Slipper (European Russia to Korea, Alaska to Yukon).
  • Cypripedium henryi : Henry's Cypripedium (C. China).
  • Cypripedium himalaicum (SE. Tibet to Himalaya).
  • Cypripedium irapeanum : Pelican Orchid, Irapeao Cypripedium (Mexico to Honduras).
  • Cypripedium japonicum : Japan Cypripedium (China, Korea, Japan).
  • Cypripedium kentuckiense : Kentucky Cypripedium (C. & E. U.S.A).
  • Cypripedium lentiginosum (China).
  • Cypripedium lichiangense (China (SW. Sichuan, NW. Yunnan), NE. Myanmar).
  • Cypripedium ludlowii (SE. Tibet).
  • Cypripedium macranthum : Large-flowered Cypripedium (E. Belarus to Temp. E. Asia).
  • Cypripedium margaritaceum : Pearl-white Cypripedium (China)
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Showy Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae)
  • Cypripedium micranthum (China).
  • Cypripedium molle (Mexico).
  • Cypripedium montanum : Large Lady's-slipper, Mountain Lady's-slipper, White Lady's-slipper, Moccasin flower (Alaska to California).
  • Cypripedium morinanthum (Manchuria).
  • Cypripedium neoparviflorum (Manchuriia).
  • Cypripedium palangshanense (China).
  • Cypripedium parviflorum (Canada, E. U.S.A).
    • Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum (Canada, E. U.S.A). Rhizome geophyte
    • Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens : Yellow Lady's-slipper (N. America). Rhizome geophyte
  • Cypripedium passerinum : Franklyn's Lady's-slipper, Small White Northern Lady's-slipper, Sparrow's Egg Lady's-slipper (Alaska to Canada, Montana).
  • Cypripedium plectrochilum (N. Myanmar to SC. China).
  • Cypripedium pubescens - greater yellow lady's slipper
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Greater yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium pubescens)
  • Cypripedium reginae: Large White Lady's-slipper, Queen's Lady's-slipper, Showy Lady's-slipper (C. & E. Canada, NC. & E. U.S.A).
  • Cypripedium roseum (Manchuria.
  • Cypripedium rubronerve (China).
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Yellow Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum)
  • Cypripedium segawai (EC. Taiwan).
  • Cypripedium shanxiense (China to N. Japan).
  • Cypripedium sichuanense (China).
  • Cypripedium sinapoides (Manchuria).
  • Cypripedium subtropicum (SE. Tibet).
  • Cypripedium taibaiense (China).
  • Cypripedium tibeticum (Sikkim to C. China).
  • Cypripedium ventricosum (Russia to Korea).
  • Cypripedium wardii (SE. Tibet, China).
  • Cypripedium wenqingiae (C. farreri C. tibeticum) (China).
  • Cypripedium wumengense (China).
  • Cypripedium yatabeanum (Russian Far East to N. & NC. Japan, Aleutian Is. to SW. Alaska).
  • Cypripedium yunnanense (SE. Tibet, China)


The Genus Cypripedium (a botanical magazine monograph), by Phillip Cribb, Peter Green - Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Timber Press (1997) ISBN 0-88192-403-2


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