This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Cypripedium Album. White-Petaled Ladies Slipper.
Nectarium ventricosum inflatum cavum.
CYPRIPEDIUM album radicibus fibrosis foliis ovato-lanceolatis caulinis, petalis obtusis. Ait. Hort. Kew. V. 3. p. 303.
HELLEBORINE Calceolus dicta mariana flore gemello candido, venis purpureis, striato. Pluk. Mant. 101. t. 418. f. 3.
CYPRIPEDIUM hirsutum foliis oblongo ovatis venosis hirsutis flore maximo. Mill. Dict. ed. 6. 4to.
CYPRIPEDIUM spectabile. Corolla labio superiore ovali basi retuso concavo subtus carina obtusa, inferiore petalis longiore grosso. Salisb. Trans. Linn. Soc. V. 1. p. 78.
Of the genus Cypripedium, Great-Britain produces only one, America several species; of these the album here figured, (whose name is derived from the whiteness of its petals, and with which the nectary must not be confounded) is by far the most magnificent; indeed there are few flowers which to such singularity of structure add such elegance and beauty: it grows spontaneously in various parts of North-America, and chiefly in the woods; was introduced to the royal garden at Kew, by Mr. William Young about the year 1770, but was known to Mr. Miller, and cultivated by him at Chelsea long before that period; this intelligent and truly practical author informs us, that all the sorts of Cypripedium are with difficulty preserved and propagated in gardens; he recommends them to be planted in a loamy soil, and in a situation where they may have the morning sun only; they must, he observes, for the above reasons, be procured from the places where they naturally grow; the roots should be seldom removed, for transplanting them prevents their flowering, which usually takes place in June.
A greater proof of the difficulty of increasing these plants need not be adduced than their present scarcity, though vast numbers have been imported, how few can boast of possessing them, or of preserving them for any length of time; careful management in their cultivation will doubtless go far, but peculiarity of soil and situation would appear to be of greater importance: it is well known that certain plants thrive in certain districts only, the double yellow rose, for instance, barely exists near London, yet this plant I have seen growing most luxuriantly, and producing a profusion of bloom, in the late Mr. Mason's garden, Cheshunt, Herts, and in which various Orchis's also acquired nearly twice their usual size, - enviable spot!