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Paphiopedilum helenae

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Paphiopedilum helenae







The International Orchid Register





Slipper Orchids.info


Paphiopedilum helenae Averyanov


  • Described: Averyanov in Botanical Journal (St. Petersburg, Russia), 81(9): 108 (1996) - discovered in 1995 by L. Averyanov, N.T. Hiep, and D.D. Huyen in northern Vietnam
  • Etymology: Named for Mrs. Helen Averyanova, wife of Leonid Averyanov, who led the team that discovered it.
  • Varieties & Forms:
    Paphiopedilum helenae fma. aureum Gruss & Roeth in Die Orchidee 50: 2-3 (1999) - albino form
  • Synonyms:
    Paphiopedilum delicatum Z.J. Liu & J.Y. Zang in Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica, 39(1): 78 (2001)
  • Chromosome Count - unknown


Plant Habit


  • Leaves: 3-5, 3-12 cm long, .5-2 cm wide, above green with pale white to yellow margins, below purple-marked near the base
  • Inflorescence: 1-flowered, 4-7 cm long, shortly-densely black-purple pubescent
  • Bloom: 3-6 cm wide
  • Plant: clustered growths


Habitat Data


  • Distribution -
  • Elevation: 500-1000 m
  • Peak Flowering in the Wild: September-November
  • Ecology: open, dry, mossy forests on ledges and cliffs near the tops of highly eroded limestone mountains and ridges
  • Mean Temperature Range: 10-25°C
  • Light: light shade
  • Medium: calcareous, roots clinging to the rock, sometimes exposed, leaf and grass debris
  • Water (D-drier, M-moderate, W-wetter) - conditions severe, extremely high humidity during the rainy season
    Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Water D D D M W W W W M D D D




  • From Averyanov et al, 2003: "According to our estimate, in a very short time, 15,000-20,000 growths of P. helenae were collected. Most of these plants were immediately exported from the country and appeared on the international market shortly afterwards. It is likely that this illegal importation into Germany provided the basis for the description of P. helenae forma aureum O.Gruss & J.Roeth in Die Orcidee 50 (1): 3 (1999)."
  • From Averyanov et al, 2003: "Natural hybridization of P. helenae with sympatric slipper orchid species needs further field investigation. Not uncommonly, for example, where populations of P. helenae and P. hirsutissimum grow together plants can be found that may represent their natural hybrid. The plant described as P. herrmannii may be one of these. Some unusal wild-collected plants with transitional morphological features between P. helenae and P. x herrmannii, that appear from time to time on sale, may have arisen from the hybridization of these taxa."




  • Averyanov, L. et al. Slipper Orchids of Vietnam. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2003.
  • Braem, Guido J., and Guy Chiron. Paphiopedilum. Saint-Genis Laval, France: Tropicalia, 2003.
  • Cribb, Phillip J. The Genus Paphiopedilum. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: Natural History Publications in association with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 1998.
  • Gruss, O. "Albino Forms of the Slipper Orchids." Orchid Digest 69, no. 4 (Oct/Dec 2005): 204-29.


Primary Hybrids


Paph. helenae x Hybrid
armeniacum Wössner Minigold
niveum Mariechen
barbigerum Wössner Zwerg
charlesworthii Wössner Helene
henryanum Wössner Ministar
sukhakulii Wössner Goldsuk
glaucophyllum Pascal Sauvêtre
primulinum Wössner Mini Goldi







Paphiopedilum helenae Aver. 1996

Common Name Ellen's Paphiopedilum [Ellen Wilson, American Orchid Enthusiast] - In China Qiao Hua Dou Lan

Flower Size 2 to 2 1/2" [5 to 6 cm]

A small [smallest of the genus] lithophytic species found recently in north Vietnam and southern China in primary, mixed and coniferous, semi-deciduous, open broadleafed dry forest on steep highly eroded limestone cliff faces facing north at elevations of 100 to 900 meters with 3 to 5 distichous, coriaceous-fleshy to rigid, succulent, oblanceolate to oblong-elliptic, obtuse and tridenticulate apically, green leaves with a few purple spots beneath near the base that has an suberect or slightly hanging, 1 3/5" to 2 3/4" [4 to 7 cm] long, shortly and densely black-purple pubescent inflorescence with a single flower arising from a conduplicate, ovate to elliptic bract that occurs in the late summer and fall.

Synonyms Paphiopedilum delicatum Liu & Zhang 2001; Paphiopedilum helenae f. aureum O.Gruss & Roeth 1999; Paphiopedilum helenae var. peschutteri Roete 2010

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list IPNI ; AOS Bulletin Vol 65 No 10 1996 photo; The Genus Paphiopedilum Vol 1 & 2 Braem 1999; Oasis Vol 1 No 2 2000 photo; Lindleyana Vol 15 No 4 2000; Rudolf Schlechter Die Orchideen Lieferung 39 2000; A to Z of South East Asian Orchid Species Vol 1 O'Byrne 2001 photo fide; AOS Bulletin Vol 73 No 3 2004; AOS Bulletin Vol 73 No 4 2004 photo as P delicatum; AOS Bulletin Vol 73 No 4 2004 photo; AOS Bulletin Vol 76 No 3 2007 photo; Australian Orchid Review Vol 72 No 4 2007 photo; Orchids of Vietnam, Illustrated survey, part 1 Averyanov 2008; Flora of China Vol 25 Zhengyi, Raven & Deyuan 2009; Mille et Une Mini Orchideees Roguenant 2009 photo fide; Flora of China Vol 25 Illustrations Zhengyi, Raven & Deyuan 2010 drawing fide;




Paphiopedilum helenae


Paphiopedilum helenae is a species of orchid endemic to Cao Bằng Province of Vietnam


Orchids Wiki


Paphiopedilum helenae is a species of Paphiopedilum found in Asia.


Plant blooms in the fall with a single 6 cm wide flower.



Plants are found growing on limestone cliffs and on mossy trees in Cao Bang Province Vietnam at elevations of 600 to 850 meters. The area has heavy rains in the summer and heavy fog during the winter..



Plant should be grown in areas with bright light and intermediate temperatures. Pot in a well drain mix such as medium fir bark and perlite. Species can tolerate many different potting media. Water regularly about every four to five days. To induce blooming lower temperature and reduce watering during the winter.



Common Names:Ellen's Paphiopedilum



  1. Paphiopedilum delicatum Liu & Zhang 2001
  2. Paphiopedilum helenae f. aureum O.Gruss & Roeth 1999



Orchids as Kusamono - Paphiopedilum helenae

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:15 pm

Well actually this plant is not kusamono - yet, it is not even in a bonsai pot. I do have plans for it. I am using Kusamono in a very broad sense, or the way it gets used in the USA, whether it becomes a true kusamono, or shitakusa or any other category of herbaceous planting will be for a different, later discussion.
Paphiopedilum helenae is a relatively recent discovery, 1990's (by the world outside Vietnam, of course locals knew of it). In the USA it only recently has become available from seed propagated plants. It is one of the more dwarf growing species, the plant is in a 2.5 inch pot (roughly 6 cm pot) There are 8 mature fans of leaves, (growths in orchid parlance), most Paph species a pot this small would only accommodate one or two growths. I felt the urge to post this because I wanted to brag, it is a species normally listed as being a single flowered species, but apparently my plant is exceptionally happy, it has thrown 2 flowers on a stem. I have not seen a bi-floral habit documented yet. So I had to brag, (its an ego thing).  
Anyway, as Paphiopedilum go, it is a relatively easy species to grow, the only trick is getting a little seedling up to blooming size because they start out so tiny, but once it is blooming size it does not need anything different than the typical Paphiopedilum Maudiae type Slipper Orchid. Bright shade, open media (I use a pine bark, perlite and charcoal mix) and watering frequently enough that it does not get bone dry, usually every 5 days.
My plan is to take a division of this plant, and put it in a shallow bonsai pot, with other orchids, selected for small size and interesting, contrasting foliage textures. Then let the group planting mature. It could make an interesting component of this type of planting.
Enjoy - its a happy plant with autumnal color. The flowers open with a green background, in a few days it becomes yellow. Flowers last about 2 months. A cute little thing.









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they like lots of light and cool temps in winter



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