Cypripedium irapeanum

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Pelican Orchid
Cypripedium irapeanum.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Cypripedioideae
Tribe: Cypripedieae
Subtribe: Cypripediinae
Genus: Cypripedium
Species: C. irapeanum
Binomial name
Cypripedium irapeanum
Lex. (1825)
  • Cypripedium lexarzae Scheidw. (1839)
  • Cypripedium splendidum Scheidw. (1839)
  • Cypripedium turgidum Sessé & Moc. (1890)
  • Cypripedium luzmarianum R. González & R. Ramírez (1992)

The Irapeao's Cypripedium or Pelican Orchid (Cypripedium irapeanum) is a species of orchid. It has a widespread distribution from the central Mexico states of Sinaloa and Durango south to Guatemala and Honduras.[1][2] They are found in mixed pine and oak forests on well-drained limestone slopes and in areas with volcanic and clay soil which are rich in metals. They can be found in some areas in groups of hundreds.[3] They bloom from early June to late July.

The plant is tall, 1 to 1.5 m, and is pubescent with clasping elliptic to lanceolate cauline leaves in a single stem. The showy yellow flowers are 12 cm and open from bottom to top in a raceme of one to eight flowers.[4] The balloon-shaped lip has a fine net pattern and an open bowl with an enrolled margin. There are purple-brown spots toward the rear of the bowl. They propagate both by rhizomes and from many minute seeds that are propelled from a capsule which erupts from the inferior ovary.[5]

Some people have reported a contact dermatitis after handling these plants, and they are extremely difficult to cultivate as they rely on a symbiotic fungus for nutrients.


  1. ^ Cribb. 1993. The genus Cypripedium in Central America. Orquídea (Mexico City) 13(1–3): 205–214.
  2. ^ Breedlove, D.E. 1986. Flora de Chiapas. Listados Florísticos de México 4: i–v, 1–246.
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia
  5. ^ Ames, O. & D. S. Correll. 1952. Orchids of Guatemala. Fieldiana, Botany 26(1): i–xiii, 1–395

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