Paphiopedilum lowii

May 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Paphiopedilum lowii

Paphiopedilum lowii at Kipandi Butterfly Park.

This is a medium sized and multiflowered orchid. They are found in hot to warm growing conditions in lowland forests of P. Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi and Borneo, at altitudes of 200 to 1700 meters. They may be terrestrial, on humus filled hollows of limestones and boulders or on large trees. The inflorescence is 25 to 40 inches (62 to 100 cm) long, holding 2 to 7 flowers.

{Further information on Paphiopedilum can be found on Wikipedia.}
The paphiopedilums are also commonly called “Slipper orchids” due to the unusual shape of the pouch-like labellum. The pouch traps insects seeking nectar, and to leave again they have to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia. (In cultivation, humans assist by using swaps.)

There are about 80 species, some of which are natural hybrids. These slipper orchids are native to South China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and form their own subtribe, the Paphiopedilinae. These sympodial orchids lack pseudobulbs. Instead, they grow robust shoots, each with several leaves.

Members of this genus are highly collectible due to the curious and unusual form of their flowers. They are among the most widely cultivated and hybridized of orchid genera, and 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 (50-70%), 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.


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