Cypripedium calceolus

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOrchidaceaeCypripediumCypripedium calceolus


A rhizomatous perennial herb found on well-drained calcareous soils derived from limestone, in herb-rich grassland or, formerly, in open woodland. Plants are long-lived but seed-set may be poor. Generally lowland, but upper altitudinal limit unknown.



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element, with a continental distribution in W. Europe.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Calcareous grassland (includes lowland and montane types)

Light (Ellenberg): 5

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 2.2

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.9

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1270

Height (cm): 30

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Comment on Clonality

herb with creeping rhizome (CTW)

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 22

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Plantatt Conservation Status

Critically endangered

JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (331b)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Kull T
1999.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 208. Cypripedium calceolus L. Journal of Ecology. 87:913-924.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Ramsey MM, Stewart J
1998.  Re-establishment of the lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus L.) in Britain. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 126:173-181.
Wigginton MJ
1999.  British Red Data Books. 1. Vascular plants, edn 3.