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The Persistent Capsules of Lady’s Slippers


While the pink, yellow and white pouches of lady’s slippers no longer grace the landscape, the results of their pollination do. Capsules rising above the surrounding ground on single stalks can be seen where lady’s slippers used to reside. These fruits will persist through the winter and even into the next flowering season.

A close look reveals slits along the length of the capsule. Wind, rain or wildlife passing by will shake the capsule, causing thousands of dust-like seeds to be dispersed. Because they carry no food reserves, these seeds must establish a relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus in order to germinate. (photo: Showy Lady’s Slipper flower and fruit)

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6 responses

  1. Dianne Rochford

    Such an interesting post.

    At this time of thanksgiving, I am THANKFUL FOR THE WORK YOU DO to celebrate our Natural World.

    :-), Dianne >

    November 23, 2016 at 7:49 am

    • Thank you so much, Dianne. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      November 23, 2016 at 8:23 am

  2. Kathryn

    If I brought one of these capsules to my flower garden (not that I know where any of them are – just curious) where would be a likely place to spread them? What would I be looking for as a good place? Where do those mycorrhizal fungus-eses (!) hang out?

    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all you do!

    November 23, 2016 at 10:15 am

    • I think you have to ask a botanist this question. My assumption is that it is very hard for them to land in the right place with the right fungus present, as these plants are relatively rare…

      November 23, 2016 at 5:31 pm

  3. I am in wonder how flocks of birds and schools of fish all turn in a direction at the same time. Any ideas?
    And “Thank you!” for sharing your wisdom, photography and natural-ness of lore and YOU.

    November 23, 2016 at 10:27 am

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