Terrestrial or lithophytic herb. Leaves 3-7, conduplicate, linear-oblong, fleshy-coriaceous, green, the largest being 3.5-1 2 cm long, 1.2-1.8 cm wide, approximately 1 mm thick, with an unequal mucronate tip and carinate below. Inflorescence weakly paniculate, producing one flower at a time over a long period; peduncle 6.5-1 3.5 cm long, slender, reddish, shortly red-pubescent; bracts elliptic, obtuse, 8-15 mm long, 4-9 mm wide, dark brown, pubescent. Flowers 1.5-2.0 cm in diameter; dorsal sepal white with reddish pink reverse; synsepal similar; petals white; lip white; staminode white with a rosy-pink mid-lobe. Pedicel and ovary red-green pubescent, 2.5-3.0 mm long, 0.8 mm in diameter in the middle. Dorsal sepal elliptic, 0.9-1.4 cm long, 0.5-0.7 mm wide, pubescent on the outer surface. Synsepal suborbicular, obtuse, 0.8-1.0 cm long, 0.8-1.2 cm wide, pubescent on the outer surface. Petals incurved, nearly horizonal, linear-ligulate, 1.1- 1.5 cm long, 0.2-0.3 cm wide, obtuse, nearly glabrous or sparsely pubescent at base, margins undulate. Lip subglobose, inflated, 1.0-1.4 cm long, 0.7-0.9 cm wide. Staminode trilobed with the mid-lobe smaller, 0.3-0.4 cm long, 0.4-0.5 cm wide, obtuse, mid-lobe mucronate.
In Mexico, Mexipedium is considered in danger of extinction; at the time of its description only seven clones were known. The original locality has never been published and is not included on the herbarium specimens so as to protect it from collectors, who would undoubtedly endanger this rare plant if they knew the exact locality. Plants should not be purchased since it is unlikely that these will have been grown from seed. Like most slipper orchids it is included in Appendix I of CITES and is thus prohibited from being in international commerce.
It is impossible to confuse this species with any other slipper orchid. The combination of its thick, succulent leaves, small stature, and whitish flowers on a weakly branching inflorescence is unique.
Western Mexico, state of Oaxaca.
Grows lithophytically or terrestrially in xerophytic vegetation in seasonally dry conditions; up to 350 m.