The order is well represented in Britain by 18 genera, which include several species of Orchis: Gymnadenia (fragrant orchis), Habenaria (butterfly and frog orchis), Aceras (man orchis), Hermin- ium (musk orchis), Ophrys (bee, spider and fly orchis), Epipactis (Helleborine), Cephalanthera, Neottia (bird's-nest orchis), one of the few saprophytic genera, which have no green leaves, but derive their nourishment from decaying organic matter in the soil, Listens (Tway blade), Spiranthes (lady's tresses), Malaxis (bog-orchis), Liparis (fen-orchis), Corallorhiza (coral root), also a saprophyte, and Cypripedium (lady's slipper), represented by a single species now very rare in limestone districts in the north of England.
In Cypripedium all three stigmas are functional, but in the great majority of orchids only the lateral pair form receptive surfaces (st, fig.
It contains two small genera of tropical Asia and Africa with almost regular flowers, and the large genus Cypripedium containing about 80 species in the north-temperate zone and tropical Asia and America.
In Cypripedium two stamens are present, one on each side of the column instead of one only at the top, as in the group Monandreae, to which belong the remaining genera in which also only two stigmas are fertile.
In Cypripedium two of the outer stamens are wanting; the third - the one, that is, which corresponds to the single fertile stamen in the Monandreae - forms a large sterile structure or staminode; the two lateral ones of the inner series are present, the third being undeveloped.