|Pink Lady's Slipper|
Thought of as warm-climate plants, did you know that wild orchids grow in northern Ontario? Cypripedium acaule is commonly known as the "Stemless Lady's Slipper, Pink Lady's Slipper, Pink Moccasin Flower" or just "Moccasin Flower". It is part of the Orchidaceae family with the Cypripedium genus containing about 30-50 species widely distributed across the Northern Hemisphere.
Cypripedium acule is the Provincial flower of Prince Edward Island. Although it is a native flower, it is considered uncommon and endangered in many US states. If the blossom is picked, the plant will not regenerate. Do not attempt to transplant this orchid if you find one, for it will NOT survive. Because of its attractiveness, this orchid is disappearing in the wild.
Found on wet, moist and dry soils with some shade, this species can be found in coniferous and mixed forests, swamps and bogs. This species bears a single flower on a stem that is about 15 - 45 cm tall. It has two large leaves 10 - 25 cm long at the base of the stem. Plants that are not blooming have no stem which is where the name "Acaule" comes from meaning "without stem". Flower blooms range from pale pink to light or dark purple. There are also white forms of the plant and the Yellow Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium calceolus.
|Species known as "deceptive orchid".|
Since the pollen sticks to the back of the bee where it cannot access it, bees learn that there is no nectar or pollen reward and do not come to visit the flower again. Because this flower has such an elaborate method of pollination, it is thought that less than 5% of flowers are pollinated each year. In fact, it may take up to 10 years for the plant to germinate! If you see one in the wild, please do not pick the flower!
Did you know...
that "cypripedium" from the Greek means "Aphrodite's shoe" or "Venus' shoe" and refers to the shape of the lip of this flower?
If you need images of this lovely wild flower, please visit FreeTiiuPix.com where you may download specimens photographed blooming at Grundy Lake Provincial Park, Ontario, in early May.