Cypripedium acaule (Stemless Lady's-slipper)
|Also known as:||Pink Moccasin-flower, Small Pink Lady's-slipper|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry to wet forests, swamps, bogs, acidic soil|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||6 to 17 inches|
|USDA PLANTS database:||Minnesota county distribution map|
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A single flower atop long slender, finely bristly stem with a large, showy sack-like lower lip (the slipper), 1½ to 2½ inches long, inflated with a deep cleft running down the front, covered in fine bristles. Color ranges from pale pink, sometimes nearly white, to rich pink with deeper colored intricate veining. Central flower column is brownish red. Lateral petals are narrow, brownish green with visible striping, twisting slightly, densely bristly on upper-inner surface. Sepals similar in color to petals, broader with the two lateral fused behind the slipper, the third forming a hood above it. A leaf-like bract, green and bristly, about the same size as sepals ascends up and forward over the thickened ovary and upper sepal.
Leaves and stem:
Notes:Many Minnesotan's are somewhat familiar with the Lady's-slippers because our state flower, C. reginae (Showy Lady's-slipper) is one. Some have called Stemless Lady's-slipper the scrotum flower and before anyone is too alarmed, just ask any man who has had a orchidectomy. Many gardeners have long wished to grow orchids in their home flower beds. It is possible and doable and they are increasingly available on the market - albeit expensive. But these are not your mothers petunias and micro-habitat is everything. This particular species is not available and is nearly impossible to establish. It requires shade, well buffered acidic and poor nutrient soils. Wildflowers should never be stolen from a wild place and brought home. If one does that they are a poor excuse for a gardener, and, for orchids in particular, in all likelihood the plant will not survive transplanting anyway.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at numerous locations on state lands in Aitkin and Beltrami counties
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?