Orchid (Cypripedium molle)

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Cypripedium molle
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Orchid fact file

Orchid description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderOrchidales
FamilyOrchidaceae (1)
GenusCypripedium

This orchid is a terrestrial herb. A cluster of tall stems can be seen rising from an underground rhizome; a single plant may sometimes have over 12 stems, which are highly attractive when in flower (2). The leaves are narrow and hairy and the inflorescence (or flower stalk) may bear up to five flowers, although these tend to come into bloom one after the other (2). The flowers of this orchid are yellow with red marks and the downy petals are incurved, whilst the large lip is sac-like (2).

Size
Stem height: 22 – 60 cm (2)
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Orchid biology

Information lacking at present.

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Orchid range

Found in Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca at the southern boarder of the country (2).

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Orchid habitat

Cypripedium molle is found in dry, pine-oak forest, associated with red clay soils; at altitudes of between 1,750 and 2,050 metres above sea level (2).

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Orchid status

Listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

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Orchid threats

Information currently unavailable.

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Orchid conservation

All orchids are listed on at least Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), thus restricting trade in wild-collected plants (3).

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Authentication

Authenticated (5/6/03) by Dr Philip Cribb. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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Glossary

Herb
A small, non-woody, seed bearing plant in which all the aerial parts die back at the end of each growing season.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of the plant, which bears flowers (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure).
Rhizome
Rhizomes are thickened, branching, creeping storage stems. Although most rhizomes grow laterally just along or slightly below the soil's surface, some grow several inches deep. Roots grow from the underside of the rhizome, and during the growing season new growth sprouts from buds along the top. A familiar rhizome is the ginger used in cooking.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2003) www.redlist.org
  2. Cribb, P. (1997) The genus Cypripedium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Timber Press, Oregon.
  3. CITES (June, 2003) www.cites.org
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Image credit

Cypripedium molle  
Cypripedium molle

© Phillip J. Cribb / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 3AB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 332 5000
Fax: +44 (0) 208 332 5197
info@kew.org
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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