Thursday, June 29, 2017

Showy Lady's-Slipper

Our Most Beautiful Lady's-Slipper

The Showy Lady's-Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) is our largest and most beautiful lady's-slipper.  It is listed as very rare (S2) and often grows in bogs deep in the woods.  Because of its beauty, populations have been devastated over the years by unscrupulous pickers who want to bring its beauty to their yards and homes.  

Showy Lady's-Slipper
The Showy Lady's-Slipper grows up to 90 cm (3 ft) tall usually in calcareous bogs, fens, boggy meadows and sometimes swamps from Manitoba to Newfoundland and south to North Dakota and Georgia.  In southern regions it is usually in mountainous regions.

Showy Lady's-Slipper Showing its Usual Habitat
 The Showy Lady's-Slipper plant has leaves growing along its long upright stem.  The leaves have prominent parallel longitudinal veining.  The leaves are a bright yellow green colour.  The blossom appears at the apex of the stem and is very evident as you approach the bog where the plants are growing.  The colour of the blooms is bright and beautiful in the otherwise drag-looking habitat.  The flower of this lady's-slipper is large and the white and deep pink colours are contrastingly beautiful.  The plant stem is stout and hairy.

Showy Lady's-Slipper
The first Showy Lady's-Slippers were collected and recorded in New Brunswick in 1876 by G.U. Hay
from a bog near Saint John.   At one time this beautiful orchid was common in New Brunswick.  We have records of bogs and other suitable habitat sometimes sporting thousands in June and July in early days of this province.  They have been drastically reduced by loss of habitat and by unscrupulous pickers.  These plants cannot be transplanted to gardens and must be left in their normal places to flourish for yet another year.  

Showy Lady's-Slipper

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