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Pink Lady Slipper Orchid
Cypripedium acaule

These striking native orchids are pollinated primarily by bumblebees. Because the bee is not rewarded by nectar, the bee doesn’t keep visiting other flowers, so fewer than 5% of the flowers typically produce fruit.

If they do fruit, the seeds are tiny and dispersed in the wind. With luck, they will find the right combination of microclimate, soil, and symbiotic fungus to germinate and establish a new plant. (whew!) Seems pretty challenging. For me, if you spot one, what a gift!

This and other wild orchids are nearly impossible to transplant successfully, so it’s best to leave them where they are (and remember the location) so you can revisit when they’re blooming each year and say hello.

Alternate Names: Moccasin Flower
Family: Orchidaceae – Orchid family
Habitat: Dry to moist acidic forests, often under conifers and rosebay thickets.
Identifiers: Blooming Late April - June 
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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