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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
- Cribb. 1993. The genus Cypripedium in Central America. Orquídea (Mexico City) 13(1–3): 205–214.
- Breedlove, D.E. 1986. Flora de Chiapas. Listados Florísticos de México 4: i–v, 1–246.
- The Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia
- Ames, O. & D. S. Correll. 1952. Orchids of Guatemala. Fieldiana, Botany 26(1): i–xiii, 1–395
- Media related to Pelican Orchid (Cypripedium irapeanum) at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Pelican Orchid (Cypripedium irapeanum) at Wikispecies
- Cypripedium irapeanum at the Encyclopedia of Life
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