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Phragmipedium is a genus of orchids also known as lady’s slipper orchids belonging to the orchid family, Orchidaceae.

Image of Phragmipedium plant at Google

Phragmipedium is a genus of orchids belonging to the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Phragmipedium is a genus that has the only genus comprised in the tribe Phragmipedieae and subtribe Phragmipediinae. This genus is also known as lady’s slipper orchids.
The name is derived from the Greek phragma, which means “division”, and pedium, which means “slipper” (referring to the pouch). This genus is abbreviated ‘Phrag’ in trade journals. About 20 species of these lady’s slipper orchids are known from SW Mexico, Central and tropical South America.

The genus Phragmipedium is divided into several sections:
– Phragmipedium : P. caudatum, P. exstaminodium, P. lindenii
– Himantopetalum : P. caricinum, P. christiansenianum, P. pearcei, P. klotzscheanum, P. richteri, P. tetzlaffianum.
– Platypetalum : P. lindleyanum
– Lorifolia : P. boissierianum, P. hirtzii, P. longifolium, P. vittatum
– Micropetalum : P. besseae, P. besseae var. dalessandroi, P. fischeri, P. kovachii, P. schlimii.
– Schluckebieria : P. kovachii

Some of the species are:
– Phragmipedium andreettae P. J. Cribb & Pupulin (Ecuador)
– Phragmipedium besseae Dodson & J.Kuhn (Ecuador to N. Peru).
– Phragmipedium besseae var. besseae (E. Ecuador to N. Peru). Hemicr.
– Phragmipedium bessae var. flavum (Braem) Gruss et Roeth 1999 (Peru) (now synonym of Phragmipedium besseae var. besseae)
– Phragmipedium besseae var. dalessandroi (Dodson & O.Gruss) A.Moon & P.J.Cribb (S. Ecuador). Hemicr.
– Phragmipedium boissierianum (Rchb.f.) Rolfe (S. Ecuador to Peru).
– Phragmipedium boissierianum var. boissierianum (Peru). Hemicr.
– Phragmipedium boissierianum var. czerwiakowianum (Rchb.f.) O.Gruss (S. Ecuador to Peru)
– Phragmipedium brasiliense Quené & O.Gruss (Brazil)
– Phragmipedium caricinum (Lindl. & Paxton) Rolfe (Bolivia).
– Phragmipedium caudatum (Lindl.) Rolfe : Mandarin Orchid (Bolivia to Peru). (synonym : P. humboldtii subsp. humboldtii)
– Phragmipedium chapadense Campacci & R.Takase (Brazil).
– Phragmipedium christiansenianum O.Gruss & Roeth (Colombia) (now synonym of Phragmipedium longifolium (Warsz. & Rchb.f.) Rolfe)
– Phragmipedium exstaminodium Castaño, Hágsater & E.Aguirre (Mexico – Chiapas to Guatemala).
– Phragmipedium fischeri Braem & H.Mohr (Ecuador).
– Phragmipedium hirtzii Dodson (N. Ecuador).

Growing/Caring conditions for Phragmipedium:
– Select a location which receives natural sunlight.
– Care should be taken that the location is not too hot.
– Indirect light is preferred in summer.
– Plant the orchid in the location.
– Water the orchid well.
– Care should be taken, not to overwater the orchid.
– Keep the orchid moist.
– Plant blooms in the fall to spring
– Re-potting annually is better for some orchids.
– Plant the orchid in a potting mix of mulch for tropical plants.
– Fertilize the orchid with plant food that is specific for orchids.
– Control the way roots get their oxygen because it is an important factor when they grow.
– This plant needs rich and fertile soil.
– This plant needs well draining soil.
– Add tree fern fibers (for small plants), several pieces of coarse fir bark, or sphagnum moss for draining.
– Dead growth and branches should be removed.

The following fungal and bacterial infections are known to attack the plant:
– Leaf spot is caused by Colletotrichum and Gleosporium
– Leaf blight – caused by Pythium
– Collar blocth – caused by Penicilium thomii
– Collar rot – caused by Sclerotium
– Orchid wilt – caused by Sclerotium rolfsli

More than 32 diseases are known to occur on orchids with the most common are Cymbidium mosaic virus. All infected plants should be isolated to prevent spreading of the disease for avoiding. The most commonly reported insects pests on orchids are thrips, aphids, spidermite, soft scale, mealy bugs, orchid weevil, snail and slugs. They feed on tender young shoot, suck the sap and damage the young bud and shoot and also act as the carrier of different diseases.

These can be controlled by effective insecticides like Parathion, Malathion, BHC, Aldrin, Dieldrin, etc. Metaldehyde has proved to be very effective in killing slugs and snails.

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