One of my photographs of this orchid species from Borneo had the honor of being selected for exhibition in the juried Filio Art Show (Woodside, California) in winter 2019. This image above was titled: “Still & Observant.”
Slipper orchids, such as this one, are highly valued for horticulture and collections. It is easy to see why — they are stunning orchids. Uniquely, the sepals (lower “petals”) of this group of orchids have fused to form the characteristic “pouch” or “slipper.” Unfortunately, their popularity has resulted in extensive collection from their native habitats and international trade.
Paphiopedilum lawrenceanum is no exception … fewer than 50 individual plants remain in the wild. There is so much to be reflected upon in these photographs, a window into a natural world both being consumed, and being preserved, by virtue of orchid collections.
This particular orchid has been ethically and sustainably grown from seed. Most people do not realize, but orchids are challenging to grow from seed, initially cultivated in sterile conditions until large enough to plant into tiny individual pots or small “community pots.” 25 seedlings can easily fit in a 5″(13cm) diameter container. It usually takes 5-7 years to reach flowering size for non-commercial species, and as many as 15 years for some slower growers.
Slipper orchids are the orchids of my heart, and a favorite in our orchid family. We currently have about 250 Paphiopedilum seedlings and several dozen blooming-size plants. I believe that some of my finest orchid photography is from this group; others has agreed! More photographs of other slipper orchid species are shared here.
“Orchid portraits” of dozens of extraordinarily unique species are available on my orchid-growing website, An Essence of Orchids. If you enjoy unique and dramatic flower photography, I regularly post my images of “what’s in bloom” on Twitter. As well as share some of the adventures from our orchid growing …