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Selenipedium isabelianum & Selenipedium palmifolium.jpg
Selenipedium palmifolium, Illustration.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Cypripedioideae
Tribe: Selenipedieae
Subtribe: Selenipediinae
Genus: Selenipedium

Selenipedium is a genus of the Orchid family (Orchidaceae) (Subfamily Cypripedioideae). The genus has been given its own tribe, Selenipedieae, and subtribe, Selenipediinae. It is abbreviated Sel in trade journals.

The name of the genus is derived from the Greek selen, which means "moon", and pedium, which means "slipper" (referring to the pouch).

The seed capsules of these Central and South American lady's slipper orchids were formerly used as vanilla substitutes, but selenipediums are now rarely cultivated. Partly this is because of the difficulty of doing so, but is probably also due to the relatively small size of the Selenipedium's flower. The wild flower's Amazonian habitat is also under threat, so extinction is a risk for all species of Selenipedium.

There are only six true selenipedium species known ([1]):

Allied genera include Paphiopedilum, Mexipedium, Cypripedium and Phragmipedium - a genus containing several species formerly known as "Selenipedium", such as Selenipedium caricinum, and Selenipedium laevigatum.


  • Pridgeon, A.M.; Cribb, P.J.; Chase, M.W. & F. N. Rasmussen (1999): Genera Orchidacearum Vol.1, Oxford U. Press. ISBN 0-19-850513-2

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