pink lady’s slipper

(Cypripedium acaule)

Conservation Status
pink lady’s slipper
Photo by Bill Reynolds
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Pink lady’s slipper is a 5½ to 19¾ tall, erect, perennial forb. It rises on a pair of basal leaves and a single leafless flower stalk (scape) from a long rhizome and widely-spaced roots. The rhizome is horizontal, slender, fleshy, and sometimes branched. The roots are white, fleshy or cord-like, and up to 13¾ long.

In the first two or three years after germination the plant lives entirely underground as a shapeless mass of cells (protocorm). In the third or fourth spring a single pair of ascending to spreading leaves rise directly from the rhizome. Each blade is elliptic, 3½ to 9 long, 1 to 4 wide. It sheaths the flowering stem at the base, is broadly angled at the tip, and is plaited or folded, like a fan. The upper surface is green. The lower surface is silvery and shiny. Both surfaces are covered with short glandular hairs. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is a solitary flower at the end of an erect stalk (scape). The scape is hairy, leafless, and round in cross section. A single leaf-like appendage (bract) subtends the flower. The bract is stalkless, lance-shaped, green, hairy, to 1¾ long, and to ½ wide.

The flower has three sepals and three petals. The sepals are covered with glandular hairs. The upper sepal is elliptic to lance-shaped elliptic, yellowish-green to brown or purple, 1 to 1½ long, and 3 16 to wide. It is arched over the inflated lower lip petal. The bract subtending the flower arches over the upper sepal like a hood. The two lateral sepals are fused together into a single structure (synsepal) that is located directly below the lip petal. The synsepal is egg-shaped to lance-shaped, to 2 long, ¼ to 1 wide, and is similar in appearance to the upper sepal.

The two lateral petals are linear lance-shaped to lance-linear, 1 to 1¾ long, to wide, and similar in appearance to the sepals. They are bent abruptly downward to somewhat spreading and are slightly spirally twisted. The lower petal (lip) is inflated to form a large, showy, slipper-like, 15 16 to 2 long, 13 16 to 19 16 wide pouch. It is pink to magenta or purple, with dark branching veins. It is covered with glandular hairs. The upper (dorsal) surface has a deep longitudinal fissure the length of the lip.

Unlike other orchids, the filaments and style are not fused into a column. There are 2 stamens and an enlarged, modified, sterile stamen (staminode). The staminode is purplish-green and inversely egg-shaped to almost four-angled. It curves over the base of the lip petal and below the upper sepal. There is one style with a lobed stigma.

The fruit is a single, erect, ellipse-shaped, ribbed, ¾ to 19 16 long capsule. The persistent bract partially encloses the base of the capsule.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

5½ to 19¾

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Pink with red veins

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry to wet. Woods, swamps. Acidic soil.

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May 24 to July 10

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 25, 28.

 
  10/11/2013      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  
 

Order

Asparagales (agaves, orchids, irises, and allies)  
 

Family

Orchidaceae (orchids)  
  Subfamily Cypripedioideae (slipper orchids)  
 

Genus

Cypripedium (hardy slipper orchids)  
  Subgenus Cypripedium  
  Section Acaulia  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Fissipes acaulis

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

lady’s-slipper orchid

moccasin flower

pink lady’s slipper

pink lady’s-slipper

pink lady’s-slipper orchid

pink ladyslipper

pink moccasin flower

pink moccasin-flower

small pink lady’s-slipper

stemless lady’s slipper

stemless lady’s-slipper

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Column

The united filaments and style of an orchid. The structure formed by the united filaments of plants in the Mallow family.

 

Protocorm

A tuber-like mass of cells on the seed of an orchid that precedes the production of above-ground parts.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Scape

An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Staminode

A modified stamen that produces no pollen. It often has no anther.

 

Synsepal

A floral structure formed by the partial or complete fusion of two or more sepals.

 
 
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Tim Blumentritt

 
 

I came across the link lady slipper for the first time in my life!

 
    pink lady’s slipper      
 

Bill Reynolds

 
    pink lady’s slipper      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

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    pink lady’s slipper      
           

 

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Slideshows
 
  Cypripedium acaule
Zi W
 
  Cypripedium acaule  
  Pink Lady's Slipper
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Pink Lady's Slipper  
 
About

Cypripedium acaule
New Hampshire's State Wildflower
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypripedium_acaule

 
  Cypripedium acaule (Pink Ladyslipper)
Allen Chartier
 
  Cypripedium acaule (Pink Ladyslipper)  
  Cypripedium acaule
Joshua Mayer
 
  Cypripedium acaule  
 
About

Pink Lady Slipper

 
  eaTalk - Pink Lady Slipper Orchid
DESeaGrant
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 13, 2011

One of the first signs of spring in the region's coastal woodlands is the emergence of the Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid from beneath the blanket of pine needles that cover the maritime forest floor.

 
  Pink Lady Slippers
BentBrent69
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 30, 2011

Pink Lady Slippers growing wild and free.

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  MyNature Apps; Identifying Pink Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium acaule
MyNatureApps
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 31, 2011

How to identify Pink Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium acaule also known as Stemless Lady's-slipper, or Moccasin Flower. www.mynatureapps.com

   
  Cypripedium acaule - Laddy Slipper Orchid
MrSkillwater
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 31, 2010

No description available.

   
  Dance Of The Lady Slippers.m4v
Douglas Foulke
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 5, 2012

A time lapse look at Lady Slipper Orchids, (Cypripedium acaule), growing in Brookfield, CT.

   
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Tim Blumentritt
6/6/2021

Location: Wisconsin

I came across the link lady slipper for the first time in my life!

pink lady's slipper

 
  Bill Reynolds
6/18/2004

Location: St. Louis Co.

pink lady's slipper

 
           
 
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