Orchid of the Week: Paphiopedilum Micranthum

It’s a dreary day in Brooklyn today, but at least it’s not freakin’ snowing again. I’ll take warm and wet over dry and frozen any day. Because I can feel a touch of spring in the air, I’ve chosen to feature a cute little orchid with springy colors: Paphiopedilum micranthum.

Photo credit: parksideorchids.com

This adorable slipper orchid is also known as the Silver Slipper Orchid or the Hard-Leaved Pocket Orchid. It’s native to Vietnam and parts of China, growing on limestone mountains and sometimes in leaf litter and decomposed organic material. I think this orchid looks very much like a giant bubblegum bubble:

Photo credit: vanda2, Flickr

Because of that big bubbly bulbous lip (how’s that for alliteration?!), I think these Paph blooms look a little more like Cypripedium than Paphiopedium.  For comparison, check out this Cyp that I featured awhile back:

Photo credit: pverdonk, Flickr

Many other Paph species commonly have more of an elongated lip pouch. The below photo is a good comparison of Paph micranthum and a different species, Paph sukhakuli. The difference in shape is very clear here:

Photo credit: kavanaru, Flickr

And sometimes, this little slipper orchid even resembles a smiling muppet:

Photo credit: PiotrM, Flickr

The pouch also resembles something else which I am not going to mention here, but I’m sure you have your own thoughts on that.

Happy Friday!

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