Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

White Ladyslippers

There she is..... one of that special breed of native orchids. This is Cypripedium candidum - the white ladyslipper. Discovered in 1805, it ranged from New England to the Dakotas. Now, due to habitat destruction and thoughtless "collecting", it is extirpated in much of the East and very rare in the upper Midwest. It was found in wet meadows and prairie sites. Draining and plowing plus intensive pasturing did them in...

I was on a hike to a protected native prairie site just south of Bluff County. It was over the border in Iowa. The time was early summer. The site encompasses about 500 acres. It reportedly has never been tilled. After taking a some shots of shooting stars, I continued down the path until I saw another clump of white. I was completly surprised to find a small mound of some kind of native orchids. At that moment, I was unaware that these small plants even existed. I took a few pictures and then hurried home to check out my Moyle wildflower book. It was then that I found out how rare they really were. A few weeks later, I was watching the evening weather report. Mr Weatherman mentioned he was inviting people to send in pictures of their garden each week and that there was a prize to be won. I couldn't claim the garden where I'd spotted the unusual orchids, so I identified the flowers as being in "Mother Nature's Garden." Knowing the looting that sometime takes place with these kind of rare specimens, I stated they wre located somewhere near Bluff Country. Later, when several neighbors called me up to inform me that my picture had made the evening news on Channel Ten, I was astonished again. I give all the credit to these beautiful gems and the gift certificate award was well spent at a local nursery in Rochester. Sometimes you just got to be lucky...

24 comments:

  1. They are so beautiful! And congratulations on your win. I didn't know why lady slippers are so rare. To think of them being everywhere... just lovely!

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  2. You have made my day! As a child I saw many pink lady slippers in the New England woods, but never the Showy Lady slipper or the White. I did see some yellow ones growing in a private garden under some birches- I believe White Flower Farm is now selling Lady Slippers (tissue culture, I think) for hundreds of dollars a plant. They cannot be easy to grow, and indeed I have read that some believe they may be parasitic, which would make transplanting them impossible. There are few wild orchids in Middle Tennessee, but they abound in the swamps and marshes of Coastal Alabama where they grow alongside pitcher plants-

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  3. Congratulations! Winning, on the news and making a rare find. What lovely blooms too to see on this wintery day.

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  4. They are beautiful. So wise of you not to let on where they were. Congrats on the find and the prize.

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  5. Beautiful! And congrats for making the news!!

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  6. It is so wonderful that they are surviving. It is a great photograph. I remember seeing the pink ladyslipper in Minnesota as well as the yellow.

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  7. What a great find, i always hope to see a few each year.One year we went to sketch them and saw a few where a friend had sent us.Sitting down we discovered there were hundreds all around us.

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  8. Great find. These look like they are are close relatives of the yellow ones..with the twisted sepals.
    The white lady slippers that we found up here look a little different.
    http://farsideoffifty.blogspot.com/2009/07/rare-white-ladys-slipper.html

    What a great find for you!! Beautiful plants! I keep their location secret too..too many people think they can just dig them up..and it usually kills them because they don't realize that a Cyp's roots run horizontal and not vertical.:(

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  9. I've seen various wild orchids here and there through the years. Always a treat. I've never seen any white or even pale. I once took a picture of a moccasin flower (pink lady slipper) growing from a crevice on a rocky hillside. I've been back there many times, but I've never been able to find such a plant there again. On our path in the woods, there are Purple Orchis, which is rare. It doesn't bloom every year. Last summer, to my surprise, I discovered the moccasin flower on our path, as well. We've been here since 1977 and we've never seen it here before.

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  10. Lady slippers are so special and rare! It is illegal to pick them here in the prairie provinces of Canada. Beautiful flowers my friend!
    xo Catherine

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  11. Never seen this variety, and I enjoy your emphasis on Thoughtless collecting- something I despise

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  12. What a great find and fun story! I especially like your "Mother Nature's Garden" - my favorite garden of all.

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  13. "Sometimes you just got to be lucky" is always my philosophy when birding or discovering things in Nature. Love that pretty lady's slipper.

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  14. Woohoo, what a find!!! Congratulations on the great win!!!

    God bless ya and have a joyous day!!! :o)

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  15. I love the photographs. We seem to see fewer Lady Slippers around these days. Perhaps we are too far off the ground than when we were kids.

    Regards to Mrs. T

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  16. How absolutely beautiful! Congrats on winning the photo contest. It would have been no-contest, really.

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  17. i haven't seen "real" shooting stars since living in montana in the 80s.
    wild alaska lady slippers are scattered on our alpine property.

    thank you for flowers in the midst of a heavy alaska winter.

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  18. Congratulations on both your find and your win. I hope those beautiful lady slippers survive.

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  19. Congrats on your photo being featured! Mother Nature's Garden is the best and you serve it well by photographing such gems.

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  20. Wouldn't I be So Excited to actually see both those plants "in the wild?"!

    Hope Mrs. T is doing well. How's YOUR weather these days? Unusually balmy down here.

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  21. I like the title you gave, Mother Nature's Garden. Both flower photos are beautiful. I'm not surprised you made the news!

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  22. I live near a protected prairie. I love going there, especially in the spring, to see the natural beauty left untouched from season to season.

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  23. Those Lady Slippers are just gorgeous, and a great photo of them too! Our native orchids in Southern California (Stream Orchids) are much smaller and less showy - I'm jealous! And, kudos to you for keeping their location a 'secret' from potential poachers.

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