Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, it is commonly known as the Gold of Kinabalu orchid or Rothschild's slipper orchid, is a large sized clear-leafed species of orchid. It blooms with a tall inflorescence with up to six, large flowers. It is unique in the Corypetalum group by holding its petals almost horizontally, giving the flower a very distinctive appearance. The peak flowering period is from April to May.

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Cypripedioideae
Genus: Paphiopedilum
P. rothschildianum
Binomial name
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum
(Rchb.f.) Stein 1888
  • Cypripedium rothschildianum Rchb.f. (basionym)
  • Cordula rothschildiana (Rchb.f.) Rolfe
  • Cypripedium elliottianum O'Brien
  • Cypripedium neoguineense Linden
  • Paphiopedilum elliottianum (O'Brien) Stein
  • Paphiopedilum rothschildianum var. elliottianum (O'Brien) Pfitzer


Paphiopedilum rothschildianum (also called 'Rothschild's slipper orchid', after its discoverer) is found in the rainforests around Mount Kinabalu in northern Borneo, at elevations from 500 to 1200 meters above the sea. It commonly grows as a terrestrial in ultramafic soil but is also found growing as a lithophyte in leaf-litter on ultramafic cliffs, usually near a river.


The flower has a green and red spotted petal, which attracts any parasitic flies that think it is a crowd of the aphids they lay eggs on. As they try to do so, the flies brush against the stigma, releasing any previously collected pollen, and then getting some more from the anther.


    Further reading

    • Braem, G. J.; Baker, Charles O.; Baker, Margaret L. (1998). The Genus Paphiopedilum: Natural History and Cultivation. Vol. 1. Kissimmee, Florida: Botanical Publishers.
    • Rodrigues, K. F.; Kumar, S. V. (2008). "Isolation and characterization of 24 microsatellite loci in Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, an endangered slipper orchid". Conservation Genetics. 10 (1): 127–30. doi:10.1007/s10592-008-9533-1.
    • Chyuam-Yih, NG; Saleh, NM; Zaman, FQ (2010). "In vitro multiplication of the rare and endangered slipper orchid, Paphiopedilum rothschildianum (Orchidaceae)". African Journal of Biotechnology. 9 (14).
    • Nash, Ned (June 1985). "Paphiopedilum Culture for Beginners — 3" (PDF). American Orchid Society Bulletin. 54 (6). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-20.
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