The National Bank of Ukraine has issued (July 20) the latest coin in its continuing series, “Flora and Fauna of Ukraine.” The series of base metal and silver coins is dedicated to endangered species of plants found in and around Ukraine. The latest issue features the orchid affectionately referred to as Lady’s Slipper, or Cypripedium Calceolus. Regarded as one of the most famous orchids of the northern hemisphere, its original beauty is said to be reminiscent of the slippers of Eastern European ladies — hence, the nickname of lady’s slipper orchids.
Lady’s slippers are unlike most other orchids, as slipper orchids have two fertile anthers which classifies them as “diandrous.” For this reason, botanists have questioned whether this clade or group of organisms should be classified within the orchid family, Orchidaceae, or if they should be designated as a separate family altogether, referred to as Cypripediaceae. Aside from its distinct name, this extraordinarily beautiful orchid is characterized by its slipper-shaped labellum or lip; this pouch serves to trap insects as they are forced to climb up past the staminode, a stem modified to produce nectar.
The coins are produced by the Mint of Ukraine and designed by Vladimir Demyanenko. The obverse of the nickel silver pieces includes a faithfully replicated color depiction of the lady slipper orchid, with the semi-circular inscription, зозулині черевички справжні, above the primary design, and CYPRIPEDIUM CALCEOLUS L below. The 10 grivnia silver coin does not feature color enhancement.
The reverse side includes the Ukrainian crest positioned toward the top with a garland of flowers, and a songbird that surrounds the coin’s denomination of 2 or 10 Grivnia, along with the year of issue. The text УКРАЇНА is centered.
|2 Grivnia||Nickel-silver||12.8 Grams||31 mm.||BU & colour||30,000 pieces|
|10 Grivnia||.925 Silver||31.1 Grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||3000 pieces|
For additional information on these and other coins issued by the National Bank of Ukraine, please visit their Web site. A list of local sales and retail points can be found here. No information is currently available for international direct sales.