Paphiopedilum

Paphiopedilum acmodontum

Paphiopedilum acmodontum

Paphiopedilum niveumd

Paphiopedilum niveumd

Pronunciation: paff-ee-oh-PED-ih-lum

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Subfamily: Cypripedioideae
  • Tribe: Cypripedieae
  • Subtribe: Paphiopedilinae
  • Genus: Paphiopedilum, Pfitzer 1886

General Characteristics

  • lack pseudobulbs
  • pouch-like labellum
  • leaves typically have a mottled pattern

The generaPaphiopedilum – often abbreviated Paph and colloquially known as paphs in horticulture – contains about 80 accepted species, some of which are natural hybrids. These “slipper orchids,” as they are commonly known, are native to South China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

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. Paphiopedilums are 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.

Paphiopedilums are among the most widely cultivated and hybridized of orchid genera. Spectacular new species are being discovered every now and then. In addition, growers have bred thousands of interspecific hybrids and registered them with the Royal Horticultural Society in London over the years.

Culture

  • Temperature: Requirements vary. 55˚F – 100˚F, depending on species.
  • Light: 1000 footcandles in the hot Summer months, 1,400 footcandles in the cooler months.
  • Water & Humidity: Wait until potting medium is starting to dry out but not completely dry before watering. Water thoroughly until water runs freely through the drain holes in the pot.
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize with a balanced, water-soluble formula at 150-200ppm (parts per million). Fertilizer is applied from October through May on the day after every other watering. Ensure two waterings between every fertilizer application to remove any residual salts from previous applications. Discontinue fertilizer during hot Summer months to prevent salt burns as a result of plant taking up too much fertilizer.
  • Potting: A fairly porous mix is recommended, consisting of five parts medium fir bark, two parts Canadian peat and one part each charcoal, extra coarse Sponge Rok #4 and ½-inch (1.25-cm) Stalite. Combine components in these proportions to produce a mix that provides support for the roots while allowing them to breath and resist becoming water-logged.

About

Welcome to Jardim Therapy my blog about orchids and Brazil. Here you will find a few useful references, and some tip & tricks, along with posting of my own personal experience. I absolutely love orchids, and I want to help everyone interested in learning about these unique plants.

As guests of Jardim Therapy you are welcome to browse the home page, post comments, and access the archives. You can also send me a message if you have any questions.

Enjoy!

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