The genus Cypripdium is distributed with circa 50 species on the whole northern hemisphere. In Central Europe is only one species native, namely the European Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus). This species is undoubtedly the most splendid and conspicuous European orchid. In South Germany this species is not very rare, but the population is declining. Furthermore, mostly are only small groups to be found, very rarely greater populations. The species is mainly to be found in deciduous forests, but is sometimes also to be found in coniferous forests. The European Lady’s Slipper is relative demanding concerning light regime. The species doesn’t tolerate locations in full sun, it grows rather in sparse forests, on clearings or along the edge of the forest. However, locations in full shadow are avoided equally as locations in full sun. The locations are in need of care and require a lot of experience concerning light regime. If the release of the plants is done too late, a population could also be destroyed, as if the release is too radical.
In the far east of Europe two further Lady’s Slipper species are native, namely the Spotted Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium guttatum) and the Large-flowered Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium macranthos).
The European Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) has been chosen as German orchid of the year 2010.