There are about 100 species of slipper orchids native to East Asia. In addition, numerous varieties and hybrids have been cultivated. The genus is easily recognized by its slipper-like labellum. The outer petals are long, strap-like, and often twisted.
The genus name refers to the godess of love Aphrodite, also called Paphia, as Greek mythology claims her to have emerged from the sea near Paphos, Cyprus. Pedilon is the Greek word for slipper or sandal. Slipper orchids are usually ground rooted, and only few species are epiphytes.