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Showy Lady’s Slippers Flowering

showy2  231The month of June can’t go by without a mention of Showy Lady’s Slippers. Just fifty years ago, this orchid could be found over most of the Northeast. Habitat loss and an exploding deer population are considered major factors in Showy Lady’s Slipper’s decline, making it endangered or on the verge of extinction in many areas. Although rare, it is still locally abundant, particularly in fens (peat wetlands that get their water from rainfall and surface water).

As with Pink and Yellow Lady’s Slippers, one of Showy Lady’s Slipper’s three petals is greatly modified into a large inflated pouch called the labellum . (The pouch’s color can vary widely from year to year, depending on the ambient temperature. Cooler conditions appear to produce more intense color.) The petals on either side of the pouch attract pollinators with an alluring odor, but the insects that enter into the pouch are in for a disappointment, as lady’s slippers produce little or no nectar. The structure and positioning of the pistil and stamens are such that they encourage cross-pollination to take place, which is crucial, as lady’s slippers rarely self-pollinate.

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10 responses

  1. See the note about color intensity….

    Same for ours maybe?

    Jillian Joyce

    June 18, 2015 at 9:14 am

  2. Nancy

    Was this photo taken locally? Our ladyslippers, here in Cornish, have already gone by?

    June 18, 2015 at 10:05 am

    • Yes, it was taken at Eshqua Bog in Hartland, VT this week. They are just peaking there.

      June 18, 2015 at 10:42 am

  3. Susan Holland

    Beautiful!!!!

    June 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

  4. Are the deer particularly fond of eating the Showy Lady’s Slipper?
    I have never seen one here in the Berkshires. I have seen lots of Pink Lady’s Slippers and some Yellow Lady’s Slippers this year.

    June 19, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    • Yes, Bess, white-tailed deer like many species of lady’s slippers, including Showy.

      June 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm

  5. This is a Fairy Slipper found in Pingree Park CO outside Ft. Collins. Size is 3/4 of an inch. Jan England

    June 21, 2015 at 8:25 pm

  6. Terri Titcomb

    Love your posts! Just want you to see the Showy Lady’s Slippers finally blooming in Newfoundland!

    >

    July 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    • Darn, WordPress doesn’t show photos, but if you want to email it to me at mholland@vermontel.net, that would be great! The time difference is amazing — almost exactly a month later than Vermont!

      July 16, 2015 at 7:53 pm

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