Paphiopedilum Wardii in the Tropics

Rare species

Many years after it was first found, plants of Paphiopedilum wardii were exported from China. Seedlings from these exports have flowered and are again being propagated.

Previously, it was a rare species that had been found in Burma, and because of the political climate there, plants were seldom exported.

This attractive species has light green leaves mottled dark green, with redpurple spotting on the underside of the leaf. The plants are somewhat like those of the more common Paphiopedilum venustum.

Flowers are borne singly on an erect spike. The flower is about 10 cm across, the dorsal sepal white with prominent green stripes. The petals are broad, green yellow heavily spotted red brown, with a green flush at the very base. The pouch is yellow, flushed brown, redbrown, especially on the front, and the staminode is dark green.

A showy species, the flowers are long lived and very attractive, with bright contrasting colours of white, green and redbrown, and wide richly spotted petals. Paphiopedilum wardii is grown successfully in the Townsville district, as well as Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands.

A little extra shade in the heat of summer is all that is required to grow the species in our hot climate. Plants are being raised from seed here, and because they are acclimatised, should be no trouble to grow and flower. A subject well worth cultivating, in all bushhouses.

Culture notes

Simple Paph. culture is effective: a fine media which should not dry out, heavy shade such as required for Phalaenopsis, and a small pot, are required. A sheltered position out of strong draughts and when in spike, shelter from rain, will ensure a flower to satisfy the most discerning grower. Paphs. should always be potted in as small a pot as will accommodate the root system.

Plants can be divided into single pieces and repotted at the start of the growing season.


A fine media such as the following can be used: 4 parts fine bark, 1 part isolite, 1 part perlite and about half part shredded spaghnam moss. The spaghnam moss can be varied to suit your growing and watering conditions, extra moss will provied more moisture for the media if your conditions are dry.

Text by Ian Walters.
May be reproduced provided source acknowledged.