The Cypripedium is, in some respects, the most interesting genus in the whole family of Orchids. Not the least interesting amongst their many fine features is their beautifully-marked foliage of every shade of green, spotted and variegated, from the richest creamy white to almost black. The beautiful and distinct formation of their flowers also invests them with an interest all their own. In the few remarks which I have to offer on their successful cultivation there is no secret to unfold. What may be said of Cypripediums in this respect may be said of every other class of plants - namely, where a true love for the plants exists, it will, in nine cases out ten, call out the intelligence and energy necessary to cultivate them with success.

With a few exceptions, which shall be noticed presently, I grow them all in the warmest or Indian Orchid house, placed on the side-tables, where they are exposed to plenty of light and no draughts. The temperature in winter ranges from 58° at night to 68° by day; in summer, from 68° at night up to 75° by day, and of course more with sun-heat. All the shading found necessary is to screen them from strong sun. The hot-water pipes are covered with evaporating-pans kept constantly full of water. The paths, pipes, and stages are damped as often as the air begins to get dry. So long as there is plenty of moisture in the air, a few degrees extra heat is not injurious. The syringe is seldom used, being convinced that the method adopted is the most conducive to good health. The foliage remains longer clean, and has a fine, glossy, full, plump appearance, which adds greatly to the general finish of the plants. The material I grow them in consists of two parts tough fibry peat, one part Sphagnum moss, with a liberal supply of charcoal and river-sand. The pots should be perfectly clean; and their drainage is of great importance.

The way I do it is, to take small pots without the bottoms and invert them one above the other, sufficiently high for the topmost to form a rest for the root stem, with the addition of 2 inches of crocks or charcoal, and over all some of the largest pieces of the material used for potting. In turning the plants out of the pots, all the old soil is shaken quite clear from the roots. Everything in the shape of insects and decay is removed. In placing the plant in its position, the neck or collar of the plant is kept rather above the level of the pot. When potted they receive a thorough watering of tepid water. The roots of the plants are not allowed to remain dry for any length of time, and the air of the house is kept regularly moist. If this point is neglected the plants soon show that they are suffering by the thin, hard, dry look of the foliage, and the peculiar unpleasant odour indicates to the experienced that the very substance of the plants is being pumped into the air. All is right when the atmosphere feels as if a fine summer shower had just fallen.

I should have stated that the season for general potting is the latter part of spring, but I pot whenever it is observed that the material in which they are growing appears to be getting out of order.

Cypripedium Barbatum, Cypripedium Barbatum Nigrum, Cypripedium Barbatum Superbum, And Cypripedium Barbatum Veitchii

These are the best of their class, blooming freely at different times of the year. They have fine marked foliage, are free growers, and their blooms last a long time in perfection.

Cypripedium Biflorum

This is a very neat and compact-growing species, with beautifully-marked foliage. Flowers white and purple; blooms in spring.

Cypripedium Hirsutissimum

This is a very fine species, with long dark-green foliage and very large showy flowers, the petals being very large, with purple lamina and green claw, mottled with lively purple. No collection should be without this.

Cypripedium Hookerii

This is another compact-growing species, with dark and regularly-mottled leaves. The dorsal sepal is yellowish, suffused with green, and stands very erect. The petals terminate with considerable breadth, which being purple contrast well with the narrower part, which is green, with small purple spots. Though less showy than some, it is well worthy a place in every collection, as it lasts a long time in bloom. Native of Japan.

Cypripedium Insigne

An old and well-known useful variety, as it flowers in winter, and lasts long in perfection, and does best with cool treatment.

Cypripedium Insigne Maulii

A much finer form of the last named, having more white in the dorsal sepal and petals; lasts long in perfection.

Cypripedium Loevigatum

This is a splendid species, and the fairest representative of the long-petalled species. It has fine shining green foliage, and from three to four blooms on a stem. The petals are 6 inches long; at the base they are green, three-fourths of their length they are chocolate, terminating in narrow points of pale green. It requires the heat of the East India House, being a native of the Philippine Islands. [Our illustration of this magnificent Cypripedium (Fig. 12) is a photograph from a coloured drawing in Curtis's 'Botanical Magazine.' - Ed].

Cypripedium Lowii

This is another majestic variety, bearing three and four most beautiful blooms on a bold stout stem, and lasts three months in perfection. It has petals 3 inches long, yellowish, with large dark spots at their base, terminating with purple.

Cypripedium Caricinum Pearcii

A graceful grower; has narrow arching sedge-like leaves, as indicated by its specific name. Produces several flowers on one stem, expanding in succession; sepals and petals purple, with a white margin, the petals being narrow and twice the length of the sepals. It is a native of an elevated and comparatively cool region of Peru, and thrives best under cool treatment; requires a good deal of pot-room.

Cypripedium Caudatum

This is one of the most wonderful and singular-looking of all flowering plants. Foliage a pleasing light green, sepals and petals purplish brown. The long tail-like petals are often from 2 to 2 feet long, and this imparts to the plant a most striking appearance. Caudatum roseum is the finest marked of the two. Blooms in summer, and does well with cool treatment.

Cypripedium Laevigatum.

Fig. 12. - Cypripedium Laevigatum.

Cypripedium Concolor

This is a most distinct species. It has beautifully mottled, compactly-arranged leaves, with pale Primrose flowers, two on a scape. The flowers are dotted all over with crimson spots. This and Cypripedium Schlimii are the freest bloomers, and last from two to three months in bloom. The potting material should be very open, and no water allowed to lodge about the leaves. In its native habitat, Moulmein, it is said to grow on limestone rock, but it grows and flowers freely in rough open material.

Cypripedium Dayii

This is a variety with most beautifully marked foliage. Does well with cool treatment.

Cypripedium Fairieanum

This is a delightful little plant, with flowers most beautifully marked, the sepals and petals being pencilled and dotted with green and purple. Lasts long in perfection, and, like Cypripedium concolor, thrives best in very open material.

Cypripedium Purpuratum

This is a lovely species, resembling Barbatum. Flowers large, striped and shaded with purple and red, very showy, and flowering as it does in winter: it is a most effective and useful plant.

Cypripedium Schlimii

A most lovely species, with green foliage, each stem bearing three or four flowers. Petals beautifully spotted with rosy crimson, and the lip having a large blotch of rich crimson. Altogether this is a very showy plant. It continues to bloom for two months; is a native of New Granada. Does well with cool treatment; requires very open compost, and dislikes being watered overhead.

Cypripedium Stonei And Cypripedium Stonei Platytinum

Cypripedium Stonei And Cypripedium Stonei Platytinum are two grand Cypripediums, with strong, massive green foliage; petals 5 inches long, yellow, spotted with purple: an immense lip, purplish veined with red, bears two and three on a stem, and lasts a long time in perfection.

Cypripedium Villosum

Cypripedium Villosum is another noble species, having fine green foliage and large, handsome, bright, glossy flowers, marked with orange and red; blooms ten weeks at a time.

Cypripedium villosum.

Fig. 13. - Cypripedium villosum.

[The illustration (Fig. 13) is from a photograph of a plant which bloomed at Mayfield last March. - Ed].

In conclusion, I would recommend as chief points in the successful culture of Cypripediums, always to shade from strong sun, never allow the roots of the plants nor the air of the house to be without moisture; frequently sponge the leaves of the plants with clean soft water.

Mayfield. S.

[The Cypripediums at Mayfield are second to none as examples of superior culture. There are plants of Cypripedium Lowii with leaves 20 inches long and 2 inches broad, and Cypripedium Stonei has leaves 20 inches long by 2 inches; Cypripedium hirsutissimum with leaves 19 inches long; Cypripedium villosum, from which our illustration is taken, 20 inches long, with fifteen expanded blooms. This came under Mr S.'s care a few years ago with just a single crown. Cypripedium Veitchii has leaves 10 inches in length, and Cypripedium Fairieanum 8 inches. - Ed].