Mexipedium is a monotypic genus of the Orchid family Orchidaceae, subfamily Cypripedioideae, consisting of only one species, Mexipedium xerophyticum. It is also the single genus of tribe Mexipedieae and subtribe Mexipediinae. This species was initially described as Phragmipedium xerophyticum by Soto Arenas, Salazar & Hàgsater in 1990, but transferred to its own genus by Albert & Chase in 1992, in part based on results from DNA analysis. Mexipedium xerophyticum is known from a single location in Oaxaca, Mexico. Only seven plants were observed at the time of its discovery.
Its name is derived from the country of origin Mexico and the Latin pes (“foot”), referring to the form of the lip. The specific epithet xerophyticum means "preferring dry conditions".
A small number of plants were removed for propagation in case plant
hunters eradicated the wild stock. Plants are now available as
This is a lithophytic orchid, growing on cliffs, shielded from the sun, at an elevation of 320 m (1,050 ft). But it grows as well on rocks or in the detritus
in crevasses. Its growth form is unusual in that it tends to spread by
runners, offset from the parent plant by several centimeters. The
silvery-green leaves are small, stiff and semi-erect. The tiny white-pink flowers show a shieldlike, pinkish staminode and a slipper-shaped lip. The curved petals are scythe-shaped. Inflorescences are multifloral and branched.
Allied genera include Cypripedium, Paphiopedilum, Selenipedium and Phragmipedium.
The genus Mexipedium is listed as Phragmipedium in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and for other legal purposes.