Plant ABCs: Venus Orchid

December 26, 2023

Venus Slipper Orchids

V is for Venus Orchid…In today's Plant ABCs series aimed at introducing you to the wild world of plants.

Venus orchids, or Venus slipper orchids, are some of my very favorite orchids to grow as houseplants. Species in the genus Paphiopedilum - not to be confused with LADY’s slipper orchids, which are in the Cypripedium genus and found growing as terrestrial plants in many of our national forests and grasslands- although, if you want to get into the taxonomy and classification, Venus orchids are technically part of the lady slipper subfamily Cypripedioideae under the family Orchidaceae) produces large GORGEOUS flowers with a large “pouch”.

Flowers often sport striking color combinations of green, chartreuse, burgundy and pink. Because most species in the genus are terrestrial plants (although some are epiphytic or lithophytic), I find these orchids to be relatively easy to grow indoors and re-bloom. And did you know? Species in this genus have unusual stomata that only respond to blue light and don’t have chloroplasts. Botany fun facts! If you’d love to know more about growing such orchids, you can join me in my Indoor Plants course, and if you’d love to dig into botanical nomenclature and taxonomy a bit more, you can join me in Botany class in the spring quarter!

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

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