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Egg-in-a-nest Orchid (Paphiopediulum bellatulum)
Scientific classification

See text

Paphiopedilum (Pfitzer 1886) is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae) of approximately 77 species native to South China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.



The genus name Paphiopedilum is derived from the Greek Paphos, a city on the island of Cyprus, and pedilon, slipper. Most species in this genus were previously considered part of the genus Cypripedium, but Paphiopedilum was accepted as the conserved (valid in use) name in 1959.

Paphiopedilums, (commonly referred to as "Paphs",) are considered highly collectible by growers due to the curious and unusual form of their flowers. Most naturally occur among humus layers as terrestrials on the forest floor, while a few are true epiphytes and some are lithophytes.

Along with Phragmipedium, Cypripedium, Mexipedium, and Selenipedium, the Paphs are members of the subfamily Cypripedioideae, commonly referred to as the Lady’s or Venus’ Slipper Orchids -- so named for the unusual shape of the pouch (labellum) of the flower, which was said to resemble a lady’s slipper. The pouch functions by trapping insects so that they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia.

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Paphiopedilum insigne

These sympodial orchids lack pseudobulbs. Instead they grow robust shoots, each with several leaves. These 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 l m long.

The Chinese orchid Paphiopedilum armeniacum, discovered in 1982, amazed growers of orchids by the extraordinary beauty of its golden flowers.

The Paphiopedilums are among the most widely cultivated and hybridized of orchid genera. Thousands of interspecific hybrids have been registered 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 to 70 percent), moderate temperatures ranging from 55 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 35 degrees Celsius) and low light of 1,200 to 2,000 foot-candles (12 to 20 klx). Modern hybrids are typically easier to grow in artificial conditions than their parent species.


The genus Paphiopedilum has been divided into several subgenera, and then further into sections and subsections.

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Paphiopedilum appletonianum

Subgenus Parvisepalum

Subgenus Brachypetalum

Subgenus Polyantha

  • section Mastigopetalum
  • section Polyantha
  • section Mystropetalum
  • section Stictopetalum
  • section Paphiopedilum
  • section Seratopetalum
  • section Cymatopetalum
  • section Thiopetalum

Subgenus Sigmatopetalum

  • section Spathopetalum
    • subsection Macronidium
    • subsection Spathopetalum
  • section Blepharopetalum
  • section Mastersianum
  • section Punctatum
  • section Barbata
    • subsection Lorapetalum
    • subsection Chloroneura
  • section Planipetalum
  • section Venustum

Subgenus Cochlopetalum

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Lady's Slipper (Paphiopedilum primulinum var. purpurascens)


  • Paphiopedilum acmodontum (Philippines).
  • Paphiopedilum adductum (Philippines)
  • Paphiopedilum appletonianum ((Hainan to Indo-China)
  • Paphiopedilum argus (Philippines - Luzon).
  • Paphiopedilum armeniacum : Golden Slippers (China - W. Yunnan to N. Myanmar).
  • Paphiopedilum barbatum (Pen. Thailand to Sumatra).
  • Paphiopedilum barbigerum (China - SE. Yunnan, SW. Guizhou, Guangxi).
  • Paphiopedilum bellatulum : Egg-in-a-nest Orchid (China - SE. Yunnan, Guizhou, S. Guangxi to Indo-China).
  • Paphiopedilum bougainvilleanum (Solomon Is).
    • Paphiopedilum bougainvilleanum var. bougainvilleanum (Solomon Is. - North Solomons). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum bougainvilleanum var. saskianum ( Solomon Is. - South Solomons).. Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum bullenianum (Malesia).
    • Paphiopedilum bullenianum var. bullenianum (W. Malesia). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum bullenianum var. celebesense (Sulawesi to Maluku). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum callosum (Indo-China to NW. Pen. Malaysia).
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Paphiopedilum argus
    • Paphiopedilum callosum var. callosum (Indo-China). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum callosum var. potentianum (Thailand). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum callosum var. warnerianum (Pen. Thailand to NW. Pen. Malaysia). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum charlesworthii (N. Myanmar to China - Yunnan).
  • Paphiopedilum ciliolare (Philippines) (
  • Paphiopedilum concolor (China - Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi to Indo-China).
  • Paphiopedilum dayanum (Borneo)
  • Paphiopedilum delenatii (SE. Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum dianthum (China - SE. Yunnan, SW. Guizhou, W. Guangxi).
  • Paphiopedilum druryi (S. India)
  • Paphiopedilum emersonii (China - SE. Yunnan, S. Guizhou, Guangxi).
  • Paphiopedilum exul (Pen. Thailand).
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Paphiopedilum callosum
  • Paphiopedilum fairrieanum (E. Himalaya to Assam).
  • Paphiopedilum fowliei (Philippines - Palawan)
  • Paphiopedilum gigantifolium (SC. Sulawesi).
  • Paphiopedilum glanduliferum (NW. New Guinea).
  • Paphiopedilum glaucophyllum (E. Java).
    • Paphiopedilum glaucophyllum var. glaucophyllum (E. Java). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum glaucophyllum var. moquetteanum (SW. Java). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum godefroyae (Pen. Thailand).
  • Paphiopedilum gratrixianum (Laos to Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum hangianum (China - Yunnan to Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum haynaldianum (Philippines - Luzon, Negros).
  • Paphiopedilum helenae (N. Vietnam - Cao Bang Prov).
  • Paphiopedilum hennisianum (C. Philippines).
  • Paphiopedilum henryanum (China - SE. Yunnan, Guangxi to N. Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum (Assam to S. China).
    • Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum var. chiwuanum (China - Yunnan Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum var. esquirolei (China - Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi to N. & E. Indo-China).
    • Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum var. hirsutissimum (Assam to Myanmar). Hemicr.
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Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum
  • Paphiopedilum hookerae (Borneo).
    • Paphiopedilum hookerae var. hookerae (Borneo - Sarawak, W. Kalimantan). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum hookerae var. volonteanum (Borneo - Sabah). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum insigne (Assam - Meghalaya).
  • Paphiopedilum intaniae (Sulawesi).
  • Paphiopedilum javanicum (Sumatra to Lesser Sunda Is.)
    • Paphiopedilum javanicum var. javanicum (Sumatra to Lesser Sunda Is.) Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum javanicum var. virens (Borneo - Sabah to N. Sarawak). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum kolopakingii (Borneo - C. Kalimantan).
  • Paphiopedilum lawrenceanum (Borneo - Sarawak, Sabah).
  • Paphiopedilum liemianum (N. Sumatra)
  • Paphiopedilum lowii (W. & C. Malesia).
    • Paphiopedilum lowii var. lowii (W. & C. Malaysia). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum lowii var. lynniae (Borneo). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum lowii var. richardianum (Sulawesi). Hemicr.
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Paphiopedilum insigne
  • Paphiopedilum malipoense : Jade Slipper Orchid (S. China to N. Vietnam).
    • Paphiopedilum malipoense var. angustatum (China - Yunnan). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum malipoense var. jackii (China - SE. Yunnan to N. Vietnam). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum malipoense var. malipoense (China - SE. Yunnan, SW. Guizhou, SW. Guangxi to N. Vietnam). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum mastersianum (Lesser Sunda Is. to Maluku).
    • Paphiopedilum mastersianum var. mastersianum (Maluku - Ambon, Buru). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum mastersianum var. mohrianum (Lesser Sunda Is. (Flores). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum micranthum : Hard-leaved Pocket Orchid, Silver Slipper Orchid (China - SE. Yunnan, W. & N. Guangxi, W. Guizhou to N. Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum niveum (Pen. Thailand to N. Pen. Malaysia).
  • Paphiopedilum ooii (Borneo).
  • Paphiopedilum papuanum (New Guinea).
  • Paphiopedilum parishii (Assam to China - W. Yunnan).
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Paphiopedilum philippinense var. roebelenii
  • Paphiopedilum philippinense (Philippines to N. Borneo)
    • Paphiopedilum philippinense var. philippinense (Philippines to N. Borneo). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum philippinense var. roebelenii (Philippines - Luzon). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum primulinum (Sumatea - S. Aceh).
    • Paphiopedilum primulinum var. primulinum (Sumatra - S. Aceh). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum primulinum var. purpurascens (Sumatra -S. Aceh. Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum purpuratum (S.China to Hainan).
    • Paphiopedilum purpuratum var. hainanense (Hainan). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum purpuratum var. purpuratum (China - Yunnan, Hong Kong, Guangdong). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum randsii (Philippines - N. Mindanao).
  • Paphiopedilum rhizomatosum (Myanmar).
  • Paphiopedilum rothschildianum : King of the Paphs (Borneo - Mt. Kinabalu).
  • Paphiopedilum sanderianum (NW. Borneo - Gunung Mulu).
  • Paphiopedilum sangii (N. Sulawesi).
  • Paphiopedilum schoseri (Sulawesi to Maluku).
  • Paphiopedilum spicerianum (Bhutan to NW. Myanmar).
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Paphiopedilum spicerianum
  • Paphiopedilum stonei (Borneo - Sarawak).
    • Paphiopedilum stonei var. platyphyllum (Borneo (Sarawak).
    • Paphiopedilum stonei var. stonei (Borneo - S. Sarawak) Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum sugiyamanum (Borneo - Sabah).
  • Paphiopedilum sukhakulii (NE. Thailand).
  • Paphiopedilum supardii (Borneo - SE. Kalimantan).
  • Paphiopedilum superbiens (N. & W. Sumatra).
  • Paphiopedilum tigrinum (China - W. Yunnan).
  • Paphiopedilum tonsum (N. & W. Sumatra).
  • Paphiopedilum tranlienianum (Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum urbanianum (Philippines - Mindoro).
  • Paphiopedilum usitanum (Philippines).
  • Paphiopedilum venustum (E. Nepal to NE. Bangladesh).
  • Paphiopedilum victoria-mariae (W. Sumatra).
  • Paphiopedilum victoria-regina (W. Sumatra).
  • Paphiopedilum vietnamense (Vietnam).
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Paphiopedilum sukhakulii
  • Paphiopedilum villosum (Assam to S. China).
    • Paphiopedilum villosum var. annamense (China - Yunnan, Guangxi to Indo-China). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum villosum var. boxallii (Myanmar). Hemicr.
    • Paphiopedilum villosum var. villosum (Assam to Thailand). Hemicr.
  • Paphiopedilum violascens (N. & E. New Guinea, Bismarck Arch. - Manus I.).
  • Paphiopedilum wardii : Rainbow Orchid (China - SW. Yunnan to Myanmar)
  • Paphiopedilum wentworthianum (Solomon Is.).
  • Paphiopedilum wilhelminae (C. New Guinea).

Natural hybrids

  • Paphiopedilum × affine ( P. appletonianum × P. villosum). (Vietnam.
  • Paphiopedilum × areeanum(P. barbigerum × P. villosum var. annamense) (China - SE. Yunnan).
  • Paphiopedilum × burbidgei (P. dayanum × P. javanicum var. virens) (Borneo).
  • Paphiopedilum × dalatense (P. callosum × P. villosum var. annamense) (Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum × dixlerianum (P. callosum × P. wardii) (Myanmar).
  • Paphiopedilum × expansum ( P. hennisianum × P. philippinense) (Philippines).
  • Paphiopedilum × fanaticum (P. malipoense × P. micranthum) (S. China).
  • Paphiopedilum × frankeanum (P. superbiens × P. tonsum) (Sumatra). 42 SUM.
  • Paphiopedilum × grussianum (P. dianthum × P. hirsutissimum var. esquirolei) (China - Guangxi).
  • Paphiopedilum × herrmannii (P. helenae × P. hirsutissimum var. esquirolei) (Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum × kimballianum (P. dayanum × P. rothschildianum) (Borneo -Mt. Kinabalu).
  • Paphiopedilum × littleanum (P. dayanum × P. lawrenceanum) (Borneo).
  • Paphiopedilum × mattesii (P. barbatum × P. bullenianum) (Pen. Malaysia).
  • Paphiopedilum × Pereirae (P. exul × P. niveum) (Pen. Thailand).
  • Paphiopedilum × Petchleungianum (P. dianthum × P. villosum) (China - SE. Yunnan).
  • Paphiopedilum × Powellii (P. callosum × P. exul) (Pen. Thailand).
  • Paphiopedilum × Pradhanii (P. fairrieanum × P. venustum) (E. Himalaya
  • Paphiopedilum × shipwayae (P. dayanum × P. hookerae). (Borneo).
  • Paphiopedilum × siamense (P. appletonianum × P. callosum) (Thailand).
  • Paphiopedilum × spicerovenustum (P. spiceranum × P. venustum) (Assam).
  • Paphiopedilum × venustoinsigne (P. insigne × P. venustum) (Assam).
  • Paphiopedilum × vietenryanum (P. gratrixianum × P. henryanum) (China – Yunnan).


  • Braem, G. J., Charles O. Baker, Margaret L. Baker. The Genus Paphiopedilum: Natural History and Cultivation, Vol. 1. Kissimmee, Florida: Botanical Publishers, Inc., 1998.
  • Leroy-Terquem, Gerald and Jean Parisot. Orchids: Care and Cultivation. London: Cassel Publishers Ltd., 1991.
  • Schoser, Gustav. Orchid Growing Basics. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1993.
  • White, Judy. Taylor’s Guide to Orchids. Frances Tenenbaum, Series Editor. New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1996.

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