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Showy Lady’s Slipper

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Classified as imperiled in New Hampshire, vulnerable in Vermont, rare in Maine, endangered in Connecticut and down to 14 sites in all of Massachusetts, the Showy Lady’s Slipper is the highlight of every June for those in the Northeast who are lucky enough to live near a spot where it grows. The rarity of this orchid is attributable to a lack of suitable habitat, as well as the browsing of white-tailed deer. Showy Lady’s Slippers are typically found in fens, a type of wetland which is not as acidic as a bog. Because it reproduces mostly by underground rhizomes (even though one flower may produce a half-million seeds), it often occurs in clumps, giving the false impression that Showy Lady’s Slippers are abundant. According to Minnesota’s Dept. of Natural Resources, where Showy Lady’s Slipper is the state flower (but also very rare), it has a long life span — some may live as long as 100 years.

4 responses

  1. nancy galland

    One of the sexiest plants in the Universe! Wonderful photos – thank you for your persistent patience! love – Nan

    June 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

  2. Really like the time-lapse effect of this series of photos, Mary. One of my favorite wildflowers (and I secretly know of a bog that most years features over 100 blooms!). Two years ago my brother discovered that moose like to browse on them as well; virtually every flower disappeared overnight. I wonder if they taste as outrageously delicious as they look…

    June 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    • Thanks, Mark. That’s so interesting about moose liking them, though finding the whole colony gone must have been a shock! How is your book coming along?

      June 14, 2012 at 11:53 pm

  3. Thank you for the slideshow. I wish they grew near me. I prefer these and the yellow ones over the more common pink. Maybe moose and deer do too!

    June 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

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