Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (Greater Yellow Lady's-slipper)

Plant Info
Also known as: Large Yellow Lady's Slipper
Genus:Cypripedium
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:shade, sun; moist rich woods, bogs, swamps
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:8 to 30 inches
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular

[photo of flower] Flower is irregular with a yellow pouch-shaped lower lip up to 2 inches long and a V-shaped column above the mouth of the pouch. The column and rim of the mouth are usually covered in reddish spots or stripes and there may be faint stripes on the sides and bottom of the pouch. What appears to be 4 or 5 narrow petals, each up to 3 inches long, are striped or spotted greenish brown and twisted to varying degrees; usually 1 is erect and 1 spreads out at each side. One plant typically has a single flower, occasionally 2.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 3 to 6 leaves are alternately attached up the stem. Leaves are up to 7 inches long and 4 inches wide, generally oval, toothless, pointed at the tip, tapering towards the base, clasping the main stem. There are many deep parallel veins that give it a striped look. The leaves and stem of young plants are noticeably hairy but may become less so with age.

Notes:

This is the most common wild orchid in the U.S. and is found in almost every state. There are 3 accepted varieties of Yellow Lady's Slipper, 2 of which are found in Minnesota: Greater Yellow Lady's Slipper (var. pubescens) and Small Yellow Lady's Slipper (var. makasin). The flower pouch of Small is only up to about 1 inch long, the petals are usually darker in color and more twisted than the Greater variety, but the Greater variety can be variable in these things depending on environmental conditions. All 3 sub-species (including var. parviflorum) go by mulitple variations on their scientific names. At one time these North American orchids were considered the same as the European species (Cypripedium calceolus) but not any longer.

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More photos

Photos taken at Wild River State Park, Center City, MN May 2009

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Fred in so central mn
on: 2011-05-28 20:47:57

Took photos of this yellow orchid today growing in the wild in southern MN

Posted by: jeff in mankato mn
on: 2011-06-01 00:45:04

There are some currently blooming off of the Red Jacket Trail near Mankato. Someone had mentioned they counted 55 blooming! I noticed that a couple had double flowers...be careful not to step on them, someone must have slipped in the mud and smashed a couple of them :(

Posted by: Bill in Viking
on: 2011-06-21 06:16:48

I have the small and Greater Yellow Lady Slipper blooming along my drive way. The Greater Yellow Lady Slipper is currently blooming its heart out as the shoulder of the road is fill with the blooming Slippers.

Posted by: Jason in Mankato, MN
on: 2012-05-06 19:58:35

There are several dozen blooming along the Red Jacket Trail by the LeSueur River. Beautiful flowers!

Posted by: Matt in Mankato MN
on: 2012-05-19 14:42:54

Anyone know where I can purchase legally acquired yellow lady slipper plants or seeds near Mankato? Thanks much.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2012-05-19 16:27:59

To anyone interested in growing orchids, I suggest reading this article about the trouble with orchids at Landscape Alternatives.

Posted by: David in Two Harbors
on: 2012-06-04 06:28:13

Saw many Yellow Lady Slippers this morning on my walk. These plants are highly reliable and I always see them flowering around the first week of june. They seem to have a short window of bloom, only lasting for about two weeks. I see hundreds in the same spot every year and have to quickly notify my spouse to get her camera. They seem to be expanding within the cedars. I have yet to find the elusive "Showy Pink Lady Slipper". If you can find one on the north shore (Two Harbors and beyond), I'd love to see one. Enjoy the Spring!
Dave

Posted by: Tim in Williams
on: 2013-06-22 20:21:24

Seen many Yellow Lady Slippers while mowing and along side the trails at the golf course. Also looked for the state flower but the pink ones where now where in sight yet.

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