For the beginner

The world of Paphiopedilums

Paphiopedilum ( Paph. ) is one of many generas of Orchids. Other well-known generas, for example, are Cymbidium, Cattleya , Dendrobium etc. Paph species are distributed widely throughout South-East Asia, from Indonesia to southern China. They are called Lady Slipper or Slipper Orchids, because they have a big pouch that looks like a 'slipper' resulting in the misperception that Paphs are carnivorous.

Because of the tremendous varieties and attractiveness of these orchids, many enthusiastic growers specialize in Paphs. Trading jungle collected species is now prohibited. Therefore, new plants are made available through division of existing specimens, or from producing seed through selfings or sib crosses. Paph breeders are remaking not only species but also primary, novelties and complex hybrids to meet the demand from Paph enthusiasts. If you are interested in Paphs, you should begin with species and/or hybrids that grow easily in your growing conditions. There is nothing as enjoyable as seeing a new flower on your plants. If you can grow african violets, you should be able to grow Paphs well. Please visit this home page for more information on Paphs, as well as a gallery of photos to whet your appetite !

Species of Paphiopedilum

 The species and hybrids of Paphiopedilums are as follow .

The Species 

In South East Asia, there are more than 50 species of Paphs. They grow in their preferred environment , mostly in mountainous areas where they receive shade and moisture. The best way to grow them is to try and replicate their environment, though it is difficult to grow plants from very different habitats in the same greenhouse. Do not forget that the environment in a greenhouse is very different from that in nature. You may think that Paphs like high heat and very high humidity, but that is not always the case.

Paph. micranthum

Paph. sukhakulii

Paph. rothschildianum

Primary hybrids

 Primary hybrids are artificial crosses using 2 different species as stated above. In these crosses, the progenies display features of both their parents to varying degrees. Basically, they grow well and are easy to adapt to our Greenhouse conditions.


Paph. Dollgoldi

Paph. St. Swithin


 Novelties are those crosses between primary and complex hybrids. They are not primary hybrids because both of their parents are not species. These days, hobbyists like the hybrids between complex hybrids and species.

Paph. Oriental Frieze

Paph. Emerald

Paph. Robin Hood

Complex hybrids

 Complex hybrids have been bred for a long time, and many no longer resemble the species from which they originated. They tend to have large and round flower with high gloss and good substance. The colors range from red, yellow, green white, and pink to spotted and fall tones (rainbow colors). Generally, they are easy for us to grow.

Paph. San Francisco

Paph. Orchilla

Paph. Via Tokyo

Go back to Dr. Tanaka's Home page