Wow!!!! Lots of good infos here!!! Many thanks Botany Boy!Those early web shots back in the 90's and early 2000's were often pretty bad. If you look on the same website (Spangle Creek) you'll see that other pics, especially of outdoor plants, look pretty "real". That particular photo is a white base flower form of tibeticum.
What's the difference between macranthos and tibeticum? I've talked with Holger Perner about this and he said that one day virtually all of these purple flowered plants from the far east might be lumped under macranthos, including all macranthos varieties (hoteiatsumorianum, rebunense, speciosum, etc.), calcicola (AKA smithii), franchetii, froschii, taibaiense, tibeticum and yunnanense. Himalaicum appears to be quite distinct. A more conservative approach would be to keep the plants of south-central China within tibeticum and the rest in macranthos. Distinction within the tibeticum complex is questionable for sure. Franchetii, froschii and calcicola in particular grade heavily into tibeticum to the point where telling them apart is really tough, much like the parviflorum group in NA. Yunnanense seems to be the most distinct, at least morphologically. Dunno about ludlowii, a poorly understood plant. If you look on my blog you can see the variety of tibeticum forms I saw in Sichuan.
One clear difference is their distribution - there is no overlap between tibeticum and macranthos (while tibeticum overlaps with virtually all the others). Tibeticum and friends are very limited to the mountains of central China and parts of the Himalaya (tibeticum and himalaicum only), while macranthos is found only in northwestern China (Manchuria), over much of the taiga of Russia, and into Korea and Japan. In culture they are certainly distinct, with the tibeticum group favoring dry, continuous winters and macrathos generally being more tolerant. No doubt they all have a common ancestry.
Interestingly, all members of this group were first considered distinct under the subsection Macrantha, but recent molecular analysis suggests that this group fall in with subsection Cypripedium.
HP7, that may indeed be C. macranthos, definitely an early shot from Spangle Creek's site. Bill grew quite a few varieties of C. macranthos, but did best with ones sources around Lake Baikal, which tended to have very lovely deep tones.I believe the color is very beautiful but fake, or "enhanced"/
You can google and see the real color easily. Quite close.
I believe this is macranthos.
Tibeticum has different color tone, uglier to my tastes.
Macranthos is only found in high altitude, and almost gone in Korea due to ruthless collection just like many other orchids.
I heard about stories of this in huge colony in the early summer. With such number and such bright pink colors, it is impossible to miss them.
Irresponsible and ignorant people take them all. These are also considered "medicine" which I'm not sure if they really are, but this is more important reason to collect cypripedium in Asia from what I understand, not to grow them for being pretty.