Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

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Paphiopedilum rothschildianum
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Genus: Paphiopedilum
Species: P. rothschildianum
Binomial name
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum
(Rchb.f.) Stein 1888

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, commonly known as the Gold of Kinabalu orchid or Rothshild's slipper orchid, is a large sized clear-leafed species of orchid. It blooms with a tall inflorescence with up to six, large flowers. It is unique in the Corypetalum group by holding its petals almost horizontally, giving the flower a very distinctive appearance. The peak flowering period is from April to May.


Paphiopedilum rothschildianum (also called 'Rothschild's slipper orchid', after its discoverer) is found in the rainforests around Mount Kinabalu in northern Borneo, at elevations from 500 to 1200 meters above the sea. It commonly grows as a terrestrial in ultramafic soil but is also found growing as a lithophyte in leaf-litter on ultramafic cliffs, usually near a river.


The flower has a green and red spotted petal, which attracts any parasitic flies that think it is a crowd of the aphids they lay eggs on. As they try to do so, the flies brush against the stigma, releasing any previously collected pollen, and then getting some more from the anther.

Popular Culture[edit]

The flower appeared in one episode of the TV series Penny Dreadful. In a botanical garden in London, Dorian Gray showed the flower to Miss Ives, explaining to her that this species is endemic to only one mountain in Borneo.


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