Mexipedium is a monotypic genus of the Orchid family Orchidaceae, subfamily Cypripedioideae, consisting of only one species, Mexipedium xerophyticum. The plant was first collected and presented as a pressed herbarium specimen in 1985. This species was initially described as Phragmipedium xerophyticum by Soto Arenas, Salazar & Hàgsater in 1990, but transferred to its own genus by Albert & Chase in 1992, in part based on results from DNA analysis and its unilocular ovary resembling both Paphiopedilum and Cypripedium rather than Phragmipedium.
The genus Mexipedium is considered to be a Phragmipedium for legal purposes, so it is on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Flowers are 2.5cm wide and white and blooms on a long inflorescence with around 2 flowers. Flowers bloom in fall and last for approximately 2 weeks.
Mexipedium xerophyticum is known from a single location in Oaxaca, Mexico.
This is a lithophytic orchid, growing on cliffs, shielded from the sun, at an elevation of 320 m. But it grows as well on rocks or in the detritus in the crevasses. Its growth form is unusual in that it tends to spread by runners, offset from the parent plant by several centimeters. The silvery-green leaves are small, stiff and semi-erect. The tiny white-pink flowers show a shieldlike, pinkish staminode and a slipper-shaped lip. The curved petals are scythe-shaped. Inflorescences are multifloral and branched.
Mexipedium should be given medium amounts of light. Leaves should be bright green. Keep plant in intermediate to cool conditions. Water regularly about every 2 to 3 days and reduce during winter time. Pot in a well drain mix.
Its name is derived from the country of origin Mexico and the Latin "pes" (foot), referring to the form of the lip. The specific epithet xerophyticum means "preferring dry conditions".
Common Name: The Dry-Growing Mexipedium
- Phragmipedium xerophyticum Soto Arenas, Salazar & Hágsater (1990) (Basionymum)
- Paphiopedilum xerophyticum (Soto Arenas, Salazar & Hágsater) V.A. Albert & Börge Pett. (1994)
- Albert, V. A. and M. W. Chase. 1992. Mexipedium: A New Genus of Slipper Orchid (Cypripedioideae: Orchidaceae). Lindleyana 7 (3): 172-176.
- Cox, A.V., A. M. Pridgeon, V. A. Albert, and M. W. Chase. 1997. Phylogenetics of the slipper orchids (Cypripedioideae: Orchidaceae): nuclear rDNA ITS sequences. Plant Systematics and Evolution 208: 197-223. PDF
- Pridgeon, A.M.; Cribb, P.J.; Chase, M.W. & F. N. Rasmussen (1999): Genera Orchidacearum Vol.1, Oxford U. Press. ISBN 0-19-850513-2