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Cypripedium calceolus (lady's slipper orchid)

The lady's slipper orchid is one of the best known and most widely illustrated of all flowering plants.
Yellow lady slipper's orchid flower

Cypripedium calceolus (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Species information

Common name: 

lady's slipper orchid

Conservation status: 

Widely distributed in Europe and temperate Asia, but extinct in Greece and endangered in England.

Habitat: 

Various calcareous environments, often in open woodland.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental.

Known hazards: 

Some people have reported an allergic reaction to the glandular hairs on the stems.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Asparagales
Family: 
Orchidaceae
Genus: Cypripedium

About this species

The lady's slipper orchid is one of the best known and most widely illustrated of all flowering plants. The earliest record of this fine orchid is Conrad Gessner’s fine watercolour illustration of 1541, which was sadly not published until the 18th Century by Camerarius.

The species was first reported as a native European plant by the herbalists Dodoens, L'Obel and Clusius. The fine woodcuts in their works show an immediately recognisable likeness, so much so that they have since been reproduced many times. Carl Linnaeus, the famous Swedish botanist, named it as Cypripedium calceolus in his Species Plantarum in 1753.

Genus: 
Cypripedium

main info

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