Venus slipper orchid.( Paphiopedilum.)
Paphiopedilums have got to be one of my favourite orchids! When I was still schooling, I looked after my brother’s orchid collection when he went overseas to do further postgraduate studies. I spent an hour in the mornings and another hour in the evenings, every day for many years, caring for them. Potting and repotting; feeding them with manure and chemical foliar feeds; spraying anti fungals and insecticides; watering, etc. were of daily routine. At that time, we didn’t have any plant belonging to the Paphiopedilum species. Most of our collections were Dendrobiums, Vandas, Cattleyas, Oncidiums, Renantheras and Phalaenopsis species. We had so much flowers that I would take these to the florists shops along Orchard Road then, to exchange them for fertilisers.
One day many years later, I saw some Paphiopedilums at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and immediately had to have a collection of their pictures. I liked their forms, colours and waxy textures. They had an ‘exotic’ look about them and were attractive either singly or in groups as they are seen in the wild. Some say that there are 30 species of these wonderful orchids,but some authorities place the number of species as 60, whilst Wikipedia mentions 80 species. It is said that some so called variations in species are actually hybrids. But be that as it may, they are beautiful to behold, and a testimony to God’s magnificent work of creation.
Commonly known as the Slipper Orchid or Lady’s Slippers, this genus has thousands of hybrids that have become well known house plants. Their popular names were inspired by the characteristic pouch-like lip that is a prominent feature of the often large and spectacular flowers. They usually grow in the ground. The wild species are now considered endangered. Their leaves are leathery and may be attractively mottled. Flowers appear singly but sometime in clusters at the top of the stalks. Most of the hybrids do best under slightly cool conditions. They like shade, a very well-drained potting mixture and protection from heavy rains. Their roots are compact and fleshy. Each new shoot only blooms once when it is fully grown, producing a raceme between the fleshy, succulent leaves.
Paphiopedilum Saint Swithin.
“The paphiopedilums are among the most widely cultivated and hybridized of orchid genera. Spectacular new species are being discovered every now and then; for example the Golden Slipper Orchid (P. armeniacum), discovered in 1979 and described in 1982, amazed growers of orchids by the extraordinary beauty of its golden flowers. In addition, growers have bred thousands of interspecific hybrids and registered them with the Royal Horticultural Society in London over the years.” -Wikpedia.
Paphiopedium Harold Koopowitz.
Paphiopedilum Saint Swithin.
I still go periodically to the Orchid enclosure of the Singapore Botanic Gardens to see if they have on exhibition more varieties of these flowers. I hope that my macro shots of these flowers show up their details, their fine hairs on the petals and their texture and form.
They never fail to amaze me and each time I see one, I have to exclaim, “ How great Thou art!!”. I hope you find these flowers as spectacular as I find them to be.