Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)

Cypripedium acaule is known by the common names Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid or Moccasin Flower.. So far, I’ve only seen it at Fort Yargo State Park where I saw a couple of plants, on of which was blooming, along the trail south of the Fishing Area (segment 13). I’ve since seen a couple of plants that could be Cypripedium acaule along the trail in segments 2 and 3 but will have to confirm these next year.

Based on the information in the Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia, this may be the white form of this orchid, Cypripedium acaule forma albiflorum. This may also be close to the southern end of the range for this orchid.

The plant (in the middle of the photograph just below center). It was right beside the trail but I almost missed it. It blended so well into the background. Only the leaf shape gave it away. At first I didn’t realize it was blooming.

The flower, front on. I had to lie on the ground to get a good view of the bloom. Luckily there was no poison ivy in the immediate area.
Note the seed pods of the Pipsissewa (Chimaphila maculata) in the foreground to the left.

The bloom, semi-side on.

The bloom from behind. From this angle, without the leaf shape to give it away, it would be easy to miss the flower.

Cypripedium acaule
is native to most of Canada excluding British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. In the United States, it grows in states including and east of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama; it does not grow in Florida.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Cypripedium acaule (Moccasin Flower)
University of North Carolina Herbarium: Cypripedium acaule

Identification resources:
- Southeastern Flora: Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)

Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Cypripedium acaule

Related posts:
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower

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