In Europe this genus is represented by just three species, the most familiar of which is C. calceolus, a highly distinctive orchid known to many as the Ladies Slipper.
taxonomists have expressed the view that this genus is a group apart
and in some ways its physiology suggests it could be intermediate
between Lilies and Orchids. Nonetheless the Slipper Orchids are
currently still regarded as Orchidaceae and consist of 5 separate
genera of which only Cypripedium is found in Europe.
plants in the genus are without tubers and possess lush green leaves
which are large and strongly veined, the flowers are always
large, colourful and the lip shaped like a clog. This shape accomodates
its means of pollination which depends on insects falling into the
interior of the clog and following a route to the exit via the pollen