Cypripedium reginae (Showy Lady's-slipper)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Cypripedium
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:shade, sun; moist prairies, sedge meadows, calcareous fens
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:10 to 27 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 flowers] One or often two flowers at the top of the stem, the inflated slipper is 1 to 2 inches long, white heavily streaked with deep pink to nearly white and a rare genetic albino of pure white. Flower column white, dipped in yellow and fine splashed reds hung to dry in the slippers door. Petals and sepals are white, finely pubescent (hairy), oblong  to 2 inches long. Lateral sepals are fused behind lip; dorsal (upper) sepal is erect and broader. A single leaf-like floral bract to 5 inches long sits at the top of the stem behind the ovary.

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

[photo of leaves] 4 to 12 leaves, broadly elliptical, 5 to 10 inches long, with wavy edges and strong longitudinal veining are evenly arranged and sheathing the stem. Several reduced leaves sheathe the lower part of the stem. Both stem and leaves richly bristled with glandular-pubescent hairs. Clumps of 20 or more stems may emerge from a single rhizome.

Notes:

You are not a true Minnesotan if you cannot recognize this flower or know its name. It is our State Flower! Showing up on a wide variety of sites within its range, from wet to dry and sunny to deep shade. From the broad open meadow and road ditches of the NW they migrate deep into shady bogs in the Cass Lake Area. They are increasingly available in the nursery trade at a demanding price for gardeners wanting to test their earth skills. Stories of thievery are still told. Remember on bitter cold winter nights, we are the only state that boasts an orchid as its emblem.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at numerous locations on state and federal land in Cass, Beltrami and Aitkin Counties and in private and commerical gardens in the Metro

Comments

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

Posted by: Gordie - Pope County, MN Glenwood area
on: 2010-07-19 21:12:47

On my hunting land 1st time I've ever seen in this area had land for 30 yrs just came across flowering plant about a month ago right on my trail- I've since staked it out to protect it.

Posted by: Mary - Roseau County Hwy 11 from Badger to Roseau
on: 2011-06-23 17:41:01

There are literally hundreds on showy lady slippers on the north side of Highway 11 going east from Badger to Roseau...and then continuing on as far as International Falls. This is the Lady Slipper route. There are also many north of Roseau on Hwy. 310 going to Canada and to the Northwest Angle.

They bloom about the middle of June and this year (2011) with all the cool wet rainy days they are prolific.

Also Lake Bronson State Park has many along their roadsides. It is truly a feast for the eyes.

Posted by: Cheryl - Wrenshall, Carlton county
on: 2012-06-22 10:11:50

Found these plants growing by our pond, they are lovely.

Posted by: Dennis - Mille Lacs, west of mille lacs on county road 2
on: 2013-06-30 16:50:02

I was mowing an area I cleared off last winter and noticed a Showy Lady Slipper to my right. I also have both Yellow lady slippers.

Posted by: Ryan - Paul Bunyan State Forest
on: 2013-07-07 14:47:32

Was camping in the Paul Bunyan State Forest over the 4th of July weekend and came across several patches of these flowers. Many are able to be seen from the road between Spur 2 and Gulch roads off Hwy 64.

Posted by: carol - byron mn.
on: 2014-06-08 22:48:33

We have plants growing in back of yard in trees. They have long leaves ,pointed. Gets about three feet tall, leaves look like ones on Lady Slippers,they get white only blossoms, turn to a dark black berry later in summer, they seem to be spreading the last few summers.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-06-09 07:13:49

Carol, have you tried using the advanced search to find your plant?

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