Orchids Wiki

Paphiopedium callosum
Paphiopedilum callosum from
Lindenia Iconographie des Orchidées

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Cypripedioideae
Tribe: Cypripedieae
SubTribe: Paphiopedilinae
Genus: Paphiopedilum
Pfitzer 1886
Type Species
Paphiopedilum insigne

Paphiopedilum is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae) of approximately 91 species.


Native to South China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. The genus has been given its own subtribe, the Paphiopedilinae.


Paphiopedilum (sometimes colloquially referred to as "Paphs") are considered highly collectible by growers due to the curious and unusual form of their flowers. Most naturally grow in humus layers as semi-terrestrials on the forest floor, in rocky outcroppings or in trees.

Along with Phragmipedium, Cypripedium, Mexipedium, and Selenipedium, the genus is a member of the subfamily Cypripedioideae, commonly referred to as the Lady’s or Venus’ Slipper Orchids, so named from 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.

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 be solid green or 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.

One group of paphs, commonly called the "Chinese paphs" or "Vietnamese paphs" are known for their unusually bright colors. Paphiopedilum armeniacum, for example, discovered in 1979 and described in 1982, amazed growers of orchids by the extraordinary beauty of its bright yellow 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 13 to 35 degrees Celsius and low light of 12,000 to 20,000 lux. Modern hybrids are typically easier to grow in artificial conditions than their parent species.


Most paphs are intermediate growers and do well in medium to medium-high light. Most paphs should be kept evenly moist year-round. There are exceptions to these general guidelines, especially among the Chinese paphs some of which encounter winter temperatures near freezing, so it is important to research the cultural needs of a specific paph, especially if growing species. All paphs need a fresh environment and benefit from good air circulation and frequent repotting. The rule of thumb for paphs is to repot them every year, usually after flowering or in the spring so they can establish themselves before hot weather sets in. Paphs benefit from high humidity.


Pollination can be done even without removing the pouch, although it will be trickier:

  1. Behind/above the pouch, below the dorsal sepal, find the anther caps, appearing as tiny balls.
  2. With a small object (toothpick, pencil, etc.), open the anther caps and pick up the pollen
  3. Put the pollen on the underside of the stigma, which is located in between the pollen masses
  4. Pollination is done, wait until seed is ripe


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.


  1. Cordula Raf.
  2. Stimegas Raf.
  3. Menephora Raf.


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

Subgenus Parvisepalum
Subgenus Brachypetalum
Subgenus Paphiopedilum
  • Section Paphiopedilum
      • Complex insigne
      • Complex villosum
  • Section Ceratopetalum
  • Section Stictopetalum
      • Complex hirsutissimum
  • Section Thiopetalum
Subgenus Sigmatopetalum
  • Section Sigmatopetalum
  • Section Spathopetalum
    • Subsection Macronidium
      • Complex hookerae
    • Subsection Spathopetalum
  • Section Blepharopetalum
      • Complex violascens
  • Section Punctatum
      • Complex tonsum
  • Section Planipetalum
      • Complex sukhakulii
  • Section Barbata
    • Subsection Barbata
      • Complex lawrenceanum
    • Subsection Loripetalum
      • Complex ciliolare
    • Subsection Chloroneura
Subgenus Polyantha
  • Section Polyantha
      • Complex lowii
  • Section Mystropetalum
      • Complex parishii
  • Section Mastigopetalum
      • Complex adductum
      • Complex philippinense
      • Complex praestans
Subgenus Cochlopetalum
      • Complex chamberlainianum
      • Complex glaucophyllum


Natural Hybrids[]

  • Paphiopedilum × affine ( P. appletonianum × P. villosum). (Vietnam).
  • Paphiopedilum × areeanum(P. barbigerum × P. villosum var. annamense) (China - SE. Yunnan).
  • Paphiopedilum × aspersum(P. barbigerum var. lockianum × P. henryanum) (Vietnam)
  • Paphiopedilum × burbidgei (P. dayanum × P. javanicum var. virens) (Borneo).
  • Paphiopedilum × cribbii (P. appletonianum × P. villosum) (Vietnam).
  • 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 × glanzii ( P. emersonii × P. micranthum) (S. China)
  • Paphiopedilum × herrmannii (Vietnam) (P. helenae × P. hirsutissimum var. esquirolei)
  • 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).
  • Paphiopedilum × yingjiangense (P. villosum × P. wardii) (Yunnan China)


PDF iconCulture conditions sutable for in vitro Seed Germination and Development of Seedlings in Paphiopedilum

PDF iconIn vitro germination of Paphiopedilum seed on a completely defined medium

PDF iconJasmonate Induced Intracelluar Alkalinization and closure of Paphiopedilum Guard Cells

PDF iconKaryotypes of Paphiopedilum species of Thailand

PDF iconPotassium Involvement in Stomatal Movements of Paphiopedilum

PDF iconPlant regeneration through direct shoot bud formation from leaf cultures of Paphiopedilum Orchids

PDF iconPlant regeneration through direct shoot bud formation from leaf cultures of Paphiopedilum orchids

PDF iconPhytochrome and blue light-mediated stomatal opening in the orchid, Paphiopedilum

PDF iconStomatal Limitation to Carbon Gain in Paphiopedilum sp. (Orchidaceae) and Its Reversal by Blue Light

PDF iconThe Photobiology of Paphiopedilum stomata: Opening under blue but not red light


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png
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  • Leroy-Terquem, Gerald and Jean Parisot. Orchids: Care and Cultivation. London: Cassel Publishers Ltd., 1991.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Paphiopedilum Orchids