(last page)Cypripedium, tikankontit

Most of the orchids (in old times all of them, and in many minds they still do) belong to the faminly Orchidaceae, which is therefore thought to be "an orchid-family ". But it might be a goog idea to separate two other familys from Orchidaceae: Cypripediaceae and Apostasiaceae. They differ from Orchidaceae by having two (or rarely three) stamens. They all belong to Orchidales, a order of orchids. Also some other plants are sometimes included to Orchidales, but this is propably a mistake. Orobanche is the best-known of these plants, but I beliewe that it is now thought as a close allie to Labiataceae (?). All orchids but Cypripedium calceolus (Cypripediacea) in Finland belong to Orchidaceae. In Cypripediaceae there are also four other genus, Paphiopedilum, Phragipedium, Selenipedium and Mexipedium

This is not any absolute arrangement, and many orchid-hobbyists and scientifics still trust more in old system, where all orchids were part of Orchidaceae. 

There are three members in the genus Cypripedium. They grow in Eurasia and North America. In Europe there grows four different Cyp´s, C. guttatum, C. macranthos, C. calceous and a hybrid of the last two, C. x ventricosum. Only C. calceolus grows in Finland, others can be found from Russia. 

Cypripediums are handsome plants. The stems are less than 50 cm (20") heigh. There, depending on species, about four or five leaves. There usually a single flower on the stem, sometime two or rarely three, but there are species with lot of flowers. North-American C. californicum and C. fasciculatum are examples of such plants. The lip of the flower is always formed like a cup. The "entrance" of the flower is usually in the upper part of the lip, rarely in front side, very ocassionally pointing down (sometimes in C. japonicum). The polluting animal can only escape from the flower from one way, where they must touch the sexual organs of the flower. Therefore the plant pollinates when the bee or other insect is trying to get out from the flower. There are Cyps which pollinate in other ways, C. depile has such a small flower that not even a small insect could pollinate this tiny beauty. 

The species in this genus are also loved by plant collectors. Many of them are protected by law, and for example C. calceolus is one the few orchids in the glass one in CITES. 

1: calceolus - tikankontti 

 These pages has been made and updated by Matti Niissalo, sophronitis@yahoo.com