I was lucky enough to live near the site of these wild orchids back in the early 2000’s, close enough to enjoy serial visits, enough to find this perfect moment titled “After the Rain.” In recent visits there were no specimens to be found. The reasons for the disappearance are not clear.
Click me to view “After the Rain” from my Online gallery.
Showy lady’s slipper, scientific name Cypripedium reginae, is also known as pink-and-white lady’s-slipper, and queen’s lady’s-slipper, is a rare lady’s-slipper orchid native to northern North America. Although never common, this plant has vanished from much of its historical range due to habitat loss. It is the state flower of Minnesota.
Cypripedium reginae grows in wetlands such as fens, wooded swamps, and riverbanks. Cypripedium reginae thrives in neutral to basic soils but can be found in slightly acidic conditions. The plants often form in clumps by branching of the underground rhizomes. Its roots are typically within a few inches of the top of the soil. It prefers very loose soil and when growing in fens it will most often be found in mossy hummocks.
It can tolerate full sun but prefers partial shade for some part of the day. When exposed to full sun, the flower lip is somewhat bleached and less deeply colored. It is occasionally eaten by white-tailed deer.
Cypripedium reginae can be found in Canada from Saskatchewan east to Atlantic Canada, and the United States from North Dakota east to the Atlantic and south to Arkansas and Tennessee.
Cypripedium reginae is quite rare. Its increasing rarity is attributable to destruction of a suitable alkaline habitat; it is sensitive to hydrologic disturbances, and is threatened by wetland draining, water contamination, habitat destruction and horticultural collectors. Browsing by an exploding deer population stunts or eliminates the plant’s growth.
Cypripedium reginae contains an irritant, cypripedin, a phenanthrenequinone. The plant is known to cause dermatitis on the hands and face. The first report of the allergy reaction was in 1875 by H. H. Babcock in the United States, 35 years before the term “allergy” was coined. The allergen was later isolated in West Germany by Bjorn M. Hausen and associates.
Reference: “Cypripedium reginae” wikipedia
You must be logged in to post a comment.