New Zealand Lady’s slipper
What are these interesting orchids? I asked a few people in the flower shop. “Lady’s slipper” was repeated. To me, Lady’s slipper is the Minnesota state flower, Cypripedium reginae. It is a terrestrial orchid native to dappled woodlands across north eastern US and Canada. The labellum (“slipper” part) is classified as pouch-like. It’s big and pink, the sepals and petals above it are white. The yellowish-green Lady’s slipper I saw today was not that flower, but a Paphiopedilum, a different genera in the same subfamily.
New Zealand Lady’s slipper has a bucket-like labellum. The colors are often white, green, reddish to burgundy to brown or almost black. Often they are spotted or patterned. The petals, sepals and lip are thick and waxy looking. When potted, there is usually one or a few flowers on long stems. The overall appearance, especially of the darker colors, is somewhat sinister and reminds me of something carnivorous, like a pitcher plant.