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Swiss Orchid Foundation
at the Herbarium Jany Renz

University of Basel

Wuhrmattstrasse 13
CH-4103 Bottmingen

© 2015 Swiss Orchid Foundation

botinst
Botanical Institute
University of Basel

Genus descriptions

 

Cypripedium

Cypripedium calceolus L.
© F. Suranjan

This plant in BibliOrchidea
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Cypripedieae
Subtribe: Cypripediinae
Synonyms: Arietinum L.C.Beck, Calceolaria Heist. ex Fabr., Calceolus Mill., Ciripedium Zumagl., Criosanthes Raf., Fissipes Small, Hypodema Rchb., Menophora Rchb.f., Sacodon Raf.
Description: Cypripedium species are terrestrial and perennial herbs that are dormant in winter. Their 10 to 60 cm tall stems sprout from a creeping rhizome and bear from one to several leaves. The inflorescence is erect or rarely slightly pendent. The elliptic or lanceolate leaves have parallel venation and are rarely spotted with black. The stem carries one or two, seldom three large and showy flowers. The dorsal sepal is erect; the lateral sepals are adherent forming a synsepal. The petals grow horizontally or somewhat downward; the lip is formed as a pouch or shoe with inrolled margins. The column is short with two pollinia, the stigma round and oval. The ovary is unilocular.
Type: Cypripedium calceolus L.
Distribution: In temperate zones of the northern hemisphere from America/Mexico to Europe and Asia.
Species: ca. 45
Etymology: Gr.: kypris = copper (→ Cyprus) and surname of the goddess Aphrodite; gr.: pedilon = shoe
Culture: Garden culture is recommended in shade, but culture in a pot is also possible. Depending on the origin, many cypripediums are hardy in winter but need protection during heavy frost and from rain. The compost has to be free draining, with added sand and grit and half decomposed leaves. Cypripediums are propagated by division or in vitro culture. There are several fine hybrids available that are much easier to grow.
Common name: Slipper Orchid, Lady's Slipper Orchid

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