Our Daily Sykes #450 – "Cypripedium . . ."

More likely to name a flower on a slide than a landscape, Horace Sykes captions this orchid "Cypripedium." And he adds, "Gratrixianum Aureum." The three terms are all used in orchid language, which is easily as articulated and earnestly fussy as that of spirits. Consulting wikipedia, we learn that "Cypripedium is a genus of 47 species of lady's-slipper orchids native to temperate and colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Some grow in tundra in Alaska and Siberia, which is an unusually cold habitat for orchids . . . Common names include slipper orchid, lady's slipper, mocassin flower, camel's foot, squirrel foot, steeple cap, Venus shoes and whippoorwill shoe." Of most relevance here is "Venus." On the webpage orchids.co.in we learn that the paphiopedilum gratrixianum is an undemanding Venus's shoe of average beauty, attractive for cultivators for its fairly large flowers and very low cultivation requirement." But hold on. With this gratrixianum we are no in Alaska but rather "the species come from Laos, northern Vietnam and Thailand." This example, whatever its name, sits potted on a sideboard in the Sykes Magnolia home, in direct sunlight off Puget Sound. Horace certainly loved his orchids. There are hundreds more slides of them.

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