Lady Slippers

by staffer Jen

Sue gave me the job of researching our state flower, the Pink Lady Slipper, to go along the with cluster that can now be found on the trail out at BA point on Round Lake, as well as other various locations in Superior National Forest. The little botanist in me started to come out as I began to research what was so special about the Lady slipper. As I look over my notes, I find a strong appreciation and pride for this flower. It is only found in pine forests/deciduous woods and it will not survive if transplanted. It cannot be uprooted and moved to someone backyard (for reasons I will discuss below), which for some reason is nice to know that humans have to leave some things in nature just be as they are.

Here are some facts I found out about this wonderful treasure we have:

· Known as Stemless Lady Slipper/Moccasin Flower/Pink Lady Slipper

· Cypripedium acaule is the scientific name

· Member of the orchid family

· Blooms in late spring/summer

· Lives up to 20+ years

· Found in central and east Canada and north central and NE United States

· Once used as a medicinal plant as a remedy for nervousness, tooth pain & muscle pain

· Fungal mycelium found in soil in forested areas is required for growth, which is why the survival rate is unsuccessful when the flower is transplanted from its home.

· Bees pollinate it by becoming trapped in the pouch, the pink puffy thing, which when they exit the pouch they pass by the stigma that leaves the bee covered with a load of fresh pollen as they exit the pouch.

So, that is what I found out about our unique state flower. I would like to thank the Forest Service and the Medicinal Plant Working Group as my two sources for this information. Hope to see you around on your next hike.

Sue’s note: Find out more about the Lady slipper at 3pm on June 24th at The Amazing Orchids of Northern Minnesota ranger talk at our neighborhood Chik Wauk Museum on the Gunflint Trail, or at 7pm in Grand Marais at the Municipal Campground. All part of the Boundary Waters Family Seminars offered every Thursday this summer.

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good post – BUT that is not the Minnesota State Flower. The MN State Flower is the pink and white ladyslipper or showy ladyslipper.
    Keep up the good work on the blog – I enjoy it reading it often.