Friday, April 6, 2012

Fort Yargo State Park: Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)

March 30-April 6, 2012. It’s becoming a pilgrimage for us to go to Fort Yargo State Park each year to see the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) orchid. A couple of plants grow along the trail south of the Fishing Area (segment 13). The plants are right beside the trail but I’ll bet that most people pass by without even seeing them. A week ago, I stopped by the park to see if they were blooming yet.

March 30th. The plants don’t stand out. It would be easy to miss them.

The blooms were just developing

A closer view

April 1st. We stopped by to see how far the flowers had developed and were a little surprised to see that the flowers had opened fully. The flowers were pale and the stems were still short.

Closer views

April 6th. The plants beside the trail. They still don’t stand out. They’re in the center/bottom of the photo

The stalks are longer and the pink veins are clearly visible

A closer view

A favorite image originally posted in 2011. (The seedpod to the left of the flower is from a Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata) plant.

In addition to this site, at Fort Yargo State Park, we’ve seen a single plant along segment 1 and a colony of 20 or more plants on a hillside along segment 3. We’ve also seen a small colony of about 20 plants in a small grove along the Forest Trail in the Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve.

Cypripedium acaule
(Pink Lady’s Slipper; Mocassin Flower) 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. In Georgia it has been documents only in a few counties in north Georgia

Cypripedium acaule
is considered unusual in Georgia although it is relatively abundant and occurs in almost all north Georgia counties.. It is on the state list primarily because ‘of the threat posed by poachers, who dig the plants for their gardens or for commercial sale. Plants dug from the wild and transplanted into gardens rarely survive for very long.’

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:
Cypripedium acaule (Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid)
Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Cypripedium acaule (Pink Lady's Slipper, Mocassin Flower)

Related posts:

- Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)

- Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: Arabia Lake Trail – Forest Trail

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower


Bryan K. Nowak said...

We found the two near the fishing area at Fort Yargo but could not find the 20 on a hillside in area 3. Could you help?

Thank you,
Bryan & Sharon

JSK said...

Bryan - Glad you found the two orchids near the fishing area. To find the orchids on the hillside, go to the post - - and look for segment 3 on the other side of the lake. They are on the hillside above that segment of the trail.
I haven't checked on them for a couple of years but I suspect they are still there. They are worth the walk.
Good luck!

Bryan K. Nowak said...

Does that mean you cannot see them from the trail?

JSK said...

There is a trail that goes around the lake. You can start from the parking lot near the campground and walk down across the dam and back along the lake. The other alternative is to park in the lot at Section B, cross the bridge and follow the trail to the left which will go away from the lake at first and then come back to it. It is probably about the same distance either way.

Bryan K. Nowak said...

Thank you. We'll look again.