Genus of the Month
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 (Pink Lady's Slipper)
Photo taken by J. Forman. May not be used without permission.
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:
- Spangle Creek Labs has an excellent web site that
details the owners' philosphy for growing Cypripedium species and provides many beautiful
photos of the species they raise. I highly recommend this site for anyone interested in growing
- For those of you interested in plant systematics, you may want to check out Kew Garden's
molecular phylogeny of the
- Read about the herbal
properties of this genus in Mrs. Grieve's A Modern Herbal, brought to you by
Botanical.com. Cypripedin is the name often given to the
substance prepared from dried Cypripedium roots, and was used as an anti-spasmodic.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
|If you have comments on "Genus of the Week" or suggestions for a future genus, |
Click on the envelope and send me some email!
Current Genus of the Week
Jenn's Home Page