John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe

The genus Cypripedium                       

: Cypripedium  meaning Venus's slipper,  a reference                                                to the lip shape of the flower.                                                                                                                             

The species:-

C. calceolus

In Europe this genus is represented by just three species, the most familiar of which is C. calceolus, a  highly distinctive orchid  known to many as the Ladies Slipper.

Some taxonomists have expressed the view that this genus is a group apart and in some ways its physiology suggests it could be intermediate between Lilies and Orchids. Nonetheless the Slipper Orchids are currently still regarded as Orchidaceae and consist of 5 separate genera of which only Cypripedium is found in Europe.                                                                                    

All plants in the genus are without tubers and possess lush green leaves which are large and strongly veined, the flowers are always  large, colourful and the lip shaped like a clog. This shape accomodates its means of pollination which depends on insects falling into the interior of the clog and following a route to the exit via the pollen laden stamens.