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Genus of the Month


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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the Conservation New England web site, entitled "The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".

This month's genus:


Cypripedium acaule in flower
Cypripedium acaule (Pink Lady's Slipper)
Photo taken by J. Forman. May not be used without permission.

Subclass: Monocotyledoneae
Superorder: Liliidae
Order: Orchidales
Family: Orchidaceae
Number of Species: at least 34
Root: From the Greek language: "cypri"--> Aphrodite, "pedium" --> slipper or little foot. A reference to the morphology of the flower.

Orchids in the genus Cypripedium are usually known by the common name "Lady's Slipper". These plants are both rare and beautiful (there is nothing quite like the feeling of discovering a Cypripedium in bloom while out on a hike!), and as such have been much sought after by orchid collectors. Luckily, there has been a movement towards "captive-bred" cultivation of these species, which will not only protect current wild populations from further poaching, but may also eventually lead to restoration of endangered or extinct populations. In the United States, many species in this genus are listed as endangered or rare at the state level, but there are apparently no species considered federally endangered.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Cypripedium species:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.

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