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Paphiopedilum insigne (Wall. ex Lindl.) Pfitzer

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Vernacular name: State Flower of Meghalaya

English: Lady’s Slipper, Splendid Paphiopedilum

Khasi: Tiew Knupmawiang

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom: Plantae–plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta–land plants

Superdivision: Embryophyta

Division: Tracheophyta–vascular plants, tracheophytes

Subdivision: Spermatophytina–spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames

Class: Magnoliopsida

Superorder: Lilianae–monocots, monocotyledons, monocotylédones

Order: Asparagales

Family: Orchidaceae–orchids

Genus: Paphiopedilum Pfitzer–Venus' slipper

Species: Paphiopedilum insigne (Wall. ex Lindl.) Pfitzer - Lady’s Slipper, Splendid Paphiopedilum (Syn. Cypripedium insigne Wall. ex Lindl., Cypripedium chantinii auct., Cypripedium maulei auct.)

Phytogeography: India, Bangladesh, China and Nepal. Paphiopedilum insigne grows on dolomite limestone outcrops near waterfalls and in light shade in India. In China, it grows on litter rich places on grassy and rocky slopes or in evergreen broad-leaved forests.

Plant description: It Terrestrial herb which grows on hilly slopes or in rock crevices preferably in shady localities. Due to large scale exploitation and destruction of habitat, population of this species is depleted. It is an endangered species.

Leaves: 6-12, linear-ligulate, sheathing at base, acutely bifid, 12–20 × ca 2.5 cm, leathery, green with distinct midrib.

Flowers: Scapes terete, 10–12 cm long, pubescent, purple, 1 or 2-flowered. Flowers 7-9 cm across, spreading, greenish white; bracts oblong, acute, inflated, half or more than the length of pedicelledovary; pedicel and ovary 4–6 cm long, densely purple-pubescent; dorsal sepal orbicular-ovate, round at apex, incurved, 4–5.5 × 3–4.5 cm, white, basal end purplish white, purple blotched, scattered; lateral sepals narrowly ovate, 3.5–4.5 × 1.8–2.5 cm, purplish white, purple-dotted. Petals spreading, linear-oblong, acute or obtuse, ca 5 × 1 cm, ciliate, greenish white; lip ca 5 cm long, yellow-brown or yellowish green, flushed and veined with brown, and narrowly greenish at margins, 3-lobed; side lobes ovate, incurved, mid-lobe helmet-shaped, greenish purple. Staminode yellowish.

Flowering season: October-Decembber

Propagation: Seeds, explants

Parts used: Whole plant

Pharmacological actionsAntiamoebic;

Medicinal usesAmoebic dysentery;

Other uses: It is an ornamental species which has horticultural values.


ITIS, 2017, “Paphiopedilum Pfitzer,” Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database, March 13, 2017. [Web Reference]

Pagag K. and Singh S.K., “MEGHALAYA,” Botanical Survey of India, C.G.O. Complex, Salt Lake City, Kolkata. [Web Reference]

Rankou H. and Kumar P., 2015, “Paphiopedilum insigne,” The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T43320499A43327884. [Web Reference]

Yonzone R., et al., 2013, "International Journal of Pharmacy and Natural Medicines." International Journal of Pharmacy and Natural Medicines; 1(1):14-35. [Web Reference]

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