Last updated on May 21st, 2023 at 09:57 am

The lady’s slipper orchid’s scientific name is Cypripedium calceolus. This comes from the Greek word Kupris pedion, which means ‘the foot of Venus.’ Venus is the Roman goddess of beauty, love, and desire. The second word, calceolus, means ‘small shoe’ in Latin. Put together, the lady slipper flower meaning is – the small shoe on the foot of Venus, symbolizing beauty, love, and womanhood.

The lady’s slipper orchids can be found in almost every European country. It has also spread widely across Asia to Japan, as well as across South and Central America. The lady’s slipper orchids cannot be found in Australia or Africa. The lady’s slipper orchid is so beloved and desired by the people that its numbers have declined in Europe. 

Only a single specimen of Cypripedium calceolus survived in Britain in the late 20th century. Many regions are legally protecting the species to prevent it from dying out.

The lady slipper flower can be found in its unique and beautiful shape. This flower has pouches shaped like slippers with spirally arranged leaves when it blooms. It is Europe’s largest species of orchid, growing up to 60 centimeters in height. This exotic look and impressive size make the lady’s slipper orchid stand out among its species.

The pouch of this flower that gave the lady slipper flower also helps the flower pollinate. The pouch traps insects, forcing them to either collect the pollen from within the flower or deposit pollen from another flower. This helps the flower to get fertilized.

What does the Lady’s Slipper Orchid flower symbolize?

In the language of flowers, the lady’s slipper orchids symbolize capricious beauty. It stands for sudden and unpredictable attraction, which can also signify the flower’s effect on people. 

People are so drawn to it that they want to pluck it and add it to their collection at home. The lady slipper flower’s meaning can be analyzed deeper than in a literal sense.

The lady’s slipper orchid is also historically known as the moccasin flower in America. There are tales about the flower from Native American tribes and about a village affected by a plague. A young girl left the village to find a cure for the plague. After a dangerous adventure, she succeeds, but she loses her moccasins along the way. 

She leaves a trail of bloody footprints through the snow, which in spring gave birth to the first moccasin flowers. Poets inspired by these tales symbolized the moccasin flower as a sign of death. Since it became rare and endangered, it was also said to symbolize Native American culture.

All in all, the lady’s slipper orchid flower symbolic meanings are:

  • bravery
  • sacrifice
  • healing
  • destiny

Meaning of the Lady’s Slipper Orchid flower colors

Pink color

The pink lady’s slipper orchid is the most common color of these orchids. The flowers are sometimes a mix of white and pink, sometimes in a darker pinkish magenta. These colors are meant to represent joy, love, and grace.

Yellow color

This is a common color of lady’s slipper orchids. The yellow color is meant to represent new beginnings and friendship.

White color

Sometimes the flower turns out to be completely pure white. In this case, like most white flowers, the white orchids represent purity, peace, and innocence.

Purple color

Sometimes the lady’s slipper orchids bring forth darker colors like purple. Purple orchids symbolize royalty and admiration.

Interesting facts about the Lady’s Slipper Orchid flowers

  • The lady’s slipper orchids are a popular image of postage stamps in several European countries. Some countries where you can find the lady’s slipper orchids on postage stamps are Italy, France, Sweden, Norway, England, and Austria, to name a few.
  • The lady’s slipper orchid went extinct in Greece and almost died out in Britain, which had one remaining plant. The reason for the lady’s slipper orchid’s endangered status is not only uprooting by people but also because of overgrazing by sheep. After the lady’s slipper orchid became a protected species, a reintroduction program led to an increase in population.
  • The lady’s slipper orchid is the largest species of orchid that can be found in Europe. Even without its distinct flowers, it can be differentiated from other orchids by the large size of its leaves.
  • The first recorded cultivation of the lady’s slipper orchids is from 1731 in the Chelsea Physic Garden. The rarity of the flower and difficulty growing it means it is one of the most valued plants in any flora collection.
  • The lady’s slipper orchid has appeared in a few Renaissance illustrations, such as the Bischofzell tapestry from 1510 and Conrad Gessner’s artwork from 1541.
  • The lady’s slipper orchid is also well known for its medicinal value. In particular, the yellow lady’s slipper orchids are great sedatives that can control tremors, epilepsy, and nervous incidents. The root, if powdered, is also said to produce deep and relaxing sleep. Other conditions that the plant can help combat are hysteria, anxiety, and stress headaches.
  • Plucking a lady’s slipper orchids in some countries is illegal because of their endangered status. The lady’s slipper orchid does not heal if damaged and struggles to spread naturally, so it is advisable to leave them alone in the wild.

How to grow Lady’s Slipper Orchid flowers

Pink lady’s slippers take a very long time to mature from seeds into plants and can live for up to two decades. They depend on a certain fungus found in the soil to attain nutrients to live. The fungus helps break open the lady’s slipper orchid’s seeds and spreads food into the seed. After the plant grows up, the fungus takes back nutrients from roots, as a symbiotic relationship.

  1. Plant the lady’s slipper orchids in moist, fertile, and well-draining soil.
  2. Place it in a spot with low light.
  3. Water at least once a week to keep them growing and healthy.
  4. Feed the soil nutrient-rich fertilizer during the late spring and early summer months.

How to care for Lady’s Slipper Orchid flowers

  1. Do not let the potting media dry before the subsequent watering schedule. 
  2. Apply a diluted balanced or complete fertilizer once or twice in late spring.
  3. Prune wilted pink lady slipper flowers promptly after blooming.
  4. Trim withered and diseased leaves promptly to increase air circulation.

Best time to gift Lady’s Slipper Orchid flowers

The lady’s slipper orchid is an exotic gift that is rare and valuable. There is no limit to when you can give it to someone. Whatever the occasion, it would be a fantastic floral gift, whether for a wedding, a birthday, or an anniversary.

The beauty of the lady’s slipper orchids means it would be the perfect romantic gift, especially since the flower represents love and happiness.

The best way to gift a lady’s slipper orchid may be as a potted gift since it will be a valuable life. However, ensure that the person you give the gift will be ready to take care of it. The lady’s slipper orchid prefers moist soil conditions, indirect sunlight, and a loving touch.


The lady’s slipper orchid is a beautiful and exotic wildflower that has fought against extinction to live with us today. Although they are rare to find and hard to grow, they are worth every ounce of trouble we take for them. 

Few flowers can compare to their beautiful and unique shape and design. For centuries, in science and art, the flower has fascinated us and will continue to do so in the future.

If you want to know and learn more about flowers, we at PansyMaiden can help you. Check out our fun, easy-to-read, and informative flower-related content that you will surely enjoy!