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
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
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?

Posted by: Greg - Nicollet County
on: 2015-06-02 21:57:17

I saw seven plants in full bloom today, June 2, 2015. We had an early spring this year.

Posted by: Juli - County Highway 34 , north of Richwood Mn.
on: 2015-06-26 13:24:09

The showy lady-slippers are lining the ditches this June, 2015. Pleased to find a patch in my own yard. No yellow ones seen this year.

Posted by: Mathew - Becker county
on: 2016-02-03 20:50:25

relatively common in many point scout camp

Posted by: Ken - Jay Cooke State Park
on: 2016-06-14 11:31:42

A new segment of the Superior Hiking which traverses the park passes next to a large grove of cedar and patch of Showy Lady's-slipper. About 2 mile hike from Highway 23 and the Wild Valley trailhead. The park also has a small patch near the park headquarters. Typically blossom the end of June.

Posted by: Ruth Ann - Two Inlets Lake between Park Rapids & Itaska park
on: 2016-06-20 16:43:27

I had a clump of showy Lady Slippers growing in my yard. They have bloomed every year and have increased in number, but this year not a single bloom. Any reason for this ?

Posted by: Andrew - Kensington
on: 2017-05-24 10:17:34

I love you

Posted by: Sandra - Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
on: 2017-06-13 11:52:57

Can anyone tell me if the Showy Lady Slippers are blooming now and where I can find them in Southern MN? Thank you.

Posted by: Steve W - Itasca State Park
on: 2017-06-16 17:52:19

The Showies have just started blooming in the Itasca area. They should reach there peek in about a week.

Posted by: Sara S - On MN-23 south of Wrenshall
on: 2017-06-30 08:54:58

I saw about four groups of Showy Lady's Slipper flowers growing in a ditch on MN-23. I estimate there were about 30-40 flowers total. Some were in full bloom but many were still budding. Gorgeous flowers!

Posted by: Wanda - NW Minnesota
on: 2017-07-10 12:24:35

ditches in several areas of Pennington, Marshall and Kittson county were filled with Showy Lady's Slipper along U.S Hwy 59 and other county roads. The photos I saw were taken between Thief River Falls and Newfolden along Hwy 59.

Posted by: Adam H - Moorhead
on: 2018-01-03 18:49:38

A few years ago I saw the standard color of these at Tamarack refuge in great quantities but then also found a large bunch of white ones. I remember they were right off of a road.

Posted by: Rebecca G - Near Orr Minnesota on rt. 23 and range line road
on: 2018-02-22 16:47:31

Beautiful flowers growing in the ditch, even the county mower knows not to mow these beauties down!

Posted by: Mark H - West - SW of Monticello 3 miles
on: 2018-05-03 08:11:32

While doing a wetland delineation - found what looked like tulips coming out of the ground in the border of the wetland. Though just emerging I have no idea what these plants could be other than Lady Slippers. FYI - seems to be a good herd of them also. :)

Posted by: Nancy - NW Minnesota
on: 2018-06-22 20:57:03

Traveling today between Bemidji and Detroit Lakes along Hwys 92, 71 and 34 there were miles and miles with clumps of Showy Lady’s Slipper on the roadsides. They were particulary abundant in the 71 and 34 areas that had less development. Highway 92 had occasional patches but homes and farms showed recent mowings all the way to the pavement. Other areas along Hwy 92 that would seem to be the right habitat also seemed to have been disturbed.

Posted by: Jeannette Haukaas - BAUDETTE, Lake of the Woods County
on: 2018-06-27 19:55:42

I have had pink and white Showy Lady Slippers in my yard for over 25 years. The deer love the buds. This year most of the flowers are pure white. Do you know why that might be?

Posted by: Thomas - Bemidji - SW Beltrami County
on: 2019-01-22 21:16:49

We used to see the Showy Lady Slippers all over in the woods and the ditches around our area here in SW Beltrami county. Also common to see was the solid pink and yellow moccasin slippers.

Posted by: Rick A - Crosby mn
on: 2019-06-14 15:02:04

I noticed a small clump of three shoots of which there was one blossom growing on my property. I decided to move them closer to my house and Now four years later, they have expanded to 17 shoots coming up. Last year there was 14, and many had three blossoms per shoot. I remember there being over thirty blossoms total. I hope they will be even more spectacular this year. They seem to spread pretty fast when they are in a location that they like.

Posted by: Elizabeth M. - along Hwy 61 expressway just south of McQuade Road
on: 2019-07-01 08:51:00

There was a beautiful cluster in the ditch along Hwy 61, just south of McQuade Road. Someone dug them up!!!

Posted by: Daniel Mielke - Brownton
on: 2019-07-08 11:21:14

So, a few years back (15 yrs) I moved some pods (with landowner permission)1.5 miles to my prairie remnant without realizing that it wasn't permissible. This spring I counted hundreds of flowers coming up in several clumps and areas. Just Wow!

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2019-07-08 12:06:17

Daniel, there shouldn't be any issue with a private, non-commercial transfer with the landowner's permission. I believe the statutes regarding removing orchids from the wild are targeting commercial growers. In MN you can do pretty much whatever you want on your own land.

Posted by: Jane Kaiser - Jay Cooke State Park
on: 2019-07-15 07:57:28

About two miles into Jay Cooke State Park on the Superior Hiking Trail from the Wild Valley Parking area. I was there yesterday and it was amazing how many were blooming! At least a hundred. It was so, so beautiful!

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