More than 60 species. They are magnificent orchids and both the species and the hybrids have always formed a major part of good collections. They have a fascinating array of colors and forms and their ease of culture has attracted lifelong admirers. All Paphiopedilum are characterised by both a cup-like lip called the pouch, and a prominent dorsal sepal. They are often called slipper orchids which refers to the shape of this pouch. The plants are mostly terrestrials, although some, like Paphiopedilum lowii may be found growing epiphytically, (on trees) or lithophytically, (on rocks) They are dwarf to moderate sized with leaves that are stiff, waxy or leathery and range from a glossy green to beautifully mottled. The leaves usually form a fan-shaped tuft. An erect scape, bearing one or more flowers, arises from the centre of each new growth. The flowers are from 2" to 5" across in a variety and mixture of colors and may last perfectly on the plant for six weeks or more. The major blooming season is from mid-autumn onwards although variations occur. Require reasonably cool nights, particularly in the spring when they will be setting their buds for the autumn flowering season. Although this need makes them difficult to manage in warm areas, their low light requirement makes it possible to keep them cool by shading. See Orchid page for pictures of different orchids and care info.