Paphiopedilum

Native: the genus comprises some 80 accepted taxa including several natural hybrids; native to Indo-Malesia (South China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands) and India
Type: occur among humus layers as terrestrials on the forest floor, while a few are true epiphytes and some are lithophytes
Size: various sizes; some species have twisting petals as long as 12 inches
Flowering: the inflorescence is erect or somewhat pendent with one or several showy flowers; flowers can last for 6 weeks or more
Colors: variety of colors and patterns with spots, stripes, or venation; some petals have warts and hairy edges
Flowering stem: stem is a short and hairy with green or tessellated leaves that are arranged oppositely; 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
Growth pattern: sympodial
Pseudobulb: lacks pseudobulbs, instead, it grows robust shoots, each with several leaves; some are hemicryptophytes
Roots: roots are thick and fleshy and grow horizontally; potted plants form a tight lump of roots that, when untangled, can be up to 1 m long
Known for: commonly referred to as Lady's Slipper or Slipper Orchid due to the unusual shape of the pouch-like labellum of the flower; highly collectible by orchid fanciers for their extraordinary flowers
History: the genus name was established by Ernst Hugo Heinrich Pfitzer in 1886; name is derived from Paphos, a city on Cyprus sacred to Aphrodite, and Ancient Greek pedilon "slipper"
   
Paphiopedilum

The dorsal sepal is erect or hooded over. The petals grow horizontally or slightly downwards.

The lower two sepals are fused into a synsepal, while the labellum has taken the form of a slipper or pouch with inrolled margins.


Paphiopedilum detail

The short column has two lateral fertile anthers, a fleshy apical staminode and two pollinia.

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, thus fertilizing the flower.