A small, warm to hot growing, calcicoles terrestrial species from Southeast Asia where it grows in shaded limestone fissures from sea level up to about 200 meters. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful species in the lovely Brachypetalus subgenus, a group of Paphiopedilum priced for its beautifully mottled or tessellated leaves. In the case of Paphiopedilum niveum the snow white flower is complemented by stunning blue-gray mottled leaves with a purple spotted underside, making the plant equally attractive weather it is in bloom or not. My flower measures about 8 cm across when opened completely and it is perched on a 14 cm tall inflorescence. The flower has been opened for about 1,5 week in the photos but it has still not opened any wider than this. I wonder if it is genetic, or if it is a first bloom shortcoming? I got this as a young plant from Danish grower KJ Orchids at Gothenburg International Orchid show in 2010, and this is the first time it blooms. Maybe it will be a litte better shaped next time.
Even though it is listed as a warm grower I grow mine successfully intermediate on the windowsill under medium low supplemental light year round. I grow it potted in a mix of bark and lava rocks with a pinch of lime on top. It receives ample water when it is active and is kept slightly drier and cooler in the winter.
Paphiopedilum niveum (Rchb.f.) Stein, Orchid.-Buch: 478 (1892).